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INVESTIGATION: Osun, Ondo-Southwest states where illegal mining, untapped resources scoop Nigeria’s economy

IT was a drizzling Wednesday morning and it looked the torrents would increase as the day rolled by, but no, this would not deter the illegal and informal miners at work. They were busy drilling and mining the gold that can sustain the host state for more than four decades even without allocation from the Federal Government.

As illegal and unrestricted mining of the nation’s solid minerals continues unchecked in many parts of the country, it is becoming clearer that it will be near impossible for the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to achieve its Economic Recovery Growth plan (ERGP) 2017-2020. In this report, Uthman Samad who visited Ibodi in Ife-Wara, Ilesha, in Osun State and Agbabu in Ondo State reveals how billions of naira is lost to illegal, informal mining and how economic resources are left untapped.

But that is not the only anomaly about the illegal mining taking place in Ibodi, a community in Ife-Wara, Osun State. Land and farmers have also lost their properties to the unlicensed miners who have forcefully taken over their land for mining purposes.

For Sunday Aina, his life-long dream has been to reap the fruit of his labour, until the artisanal illegal miners, mostly from the Northern parts of the country, chased and threatened him with death if he tries to disturb their activities on his farmland.

“The Chinese on this land have always form to be our boss, whereas we Yoruba and Hausa are one. We are here on Yoruba land mining for them, and making money together.”

Aliu has spent more than four years in Ife-Wara mining sites. He has worked for over 10 different unlicensed companies as labourer as he later confirmed. He is currently with the 11th and still hoping to make more living from the gold farming lands.

He divulged that  a couple of months ago, the present mining site was a very fruitful cocoa farm. “It was just earlier this year that the Chinese brought heavy machines to this site and crushed away all the cocoa trees on the land. I can’t really say the farmers were really paid but I saw them coming here afterwards crying one afternoon and till now we have been here working. Money dey here ooo”, he said smoking and laughing to show his excitement.

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