Illegal Mining:  Oyo Govt Arrests 3 Chinese, One Other, Shuts Down Factory

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*To prosecute arrested suspects 

By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan

Three Chinese and one other suspect have been arrested in  Oyo State by security agents on the order  of Governor Seyi Makinde over illegal mining activities

Also, the state government has shut down the factory operated by the arrested suspects to process and package lithium out of the state.

Governor Makinde ordered the arrest of the three Chinese and one other suspect on Saturday during an unscheduled inspection tour to the factory at Idi Ayunre area of Ibadan 

The governor maintained that the factory is operating against the approved licence secured from the government for business operations in the state.

According to him, a preliminary investigation revealed that the factory was being operated by some Chinese and that the factory and its operators have contravened the Executive Order 001 of 2024 on the safe handling of harmful substances.

Emphasizing that the arrested suspects would be prosecuted accordingly, the governor said though the Federal Government issued an operational licence to the miners in line with  constitutional provision, there will always be security threats and concerns when states do not have an input in the issuance of mining licences.

“You can see what is going on here; it is still the same problem, the illegal mining activities.Sadly, the folks are even getting bolder. This place, according to records available to us, was meant to be a yard for recycled tyres and batteries. But coming in here, you can see there is no single battery or tyre here”, he said .

Gov Makinde added, ” They are crushing lithium here and they had support from all over. The preliminary investigation indicated that some Chinese are the ones leading this.They also have a lawyer from Katsina. Some four persons have been arrested and they are with the security agencies”. 

” The Chinese people have been taken to immigration and, once we are able to find something to prosecute them, then, we will prosecute them. The state government will take over the facility via a court process, as this is a clear violation of the Executive Order that I signed and it is a problem that we have to address”. 

Gov Makinde stressed, “We need to get to the bottom of this but, in the main time, this facility will be taken over by the government of Oyo State.”

Speaking further, he expressed concerns with the retention of mining in the Exclusive Legislative List, adding that there will always be issues of security threats when states do not have input in the issuance of mining licences.

The governor maintained that though Oyo State remained open to investors and will always do everything to make businesses thrive, those business must obey local laws and regulations.

“I think it is the same thing about the constitutional provision where they issue licences to miners in Abuja without the state governments having an input. And when you have the fallout, the state will still have to bear the brunt. We will still try to foster cooperation among stakeholders, because we want businesses to thrive in Oyo State but local laws and regulations must be obeyed. We are not asking you not to come to Oyo State but when you come here, you should be able to obey the local laws. That is where we are,” 

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