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Illegal mining: Stakeholders urge FG to tackle heavy pollution of Osun River

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Stakeholders have asked the Federal Government and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to as a matter of urgency deal with the heavy contamination of Osun River.

They asked the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Mines and Steel, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, and NESREA to set up a committee to deal with mining activities in Osun State, which has polluted Osun River.

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They make the call in a communique after a Twitter Space themed “The Gold Curse: Poverty, Deforestation & Insecurity In The #osunriver Valley”, organised by Urban Alert, in conjunction with Global Rights.

Speakers included a monarch, Atorin-Ijesa, Omololu Toye Afilaka, a traditionalist in Osun State, the President of Women in Mining in Nigeria, Engr. Janet Adeyemi, the Executive Director of Global Rights, Ms. Abiodun Bayiewu, the Team Lead of Urban Alert, Mr Anthony Adejuwon and a Senior Lecturer at the Federal University of Agriculture, Ogun State, Dr. Temitope Olaifa, among others.

Urban Alert had raised alarm earlier this year that the river is heavily contaminated with mercury, lead, cyanide and other injurious elements that are poisonous to human health.

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The group blamed the harmful contamination of the river on the activities of gold mining, which it said has put the lives of over 2 million residents of Osun State in danger.

The stakeholders observed that despite the large number of communities (23 communities across 10 local governments) that depend on the Osun River for their livelihoods and source of drinking water, the government failed to check the activities of the gold miners that have continually polluted the water.

They recommended that Osun State Government should “conduct periodic environment sensitivity mapping to have baseline data on the quality of soil and water so that they can subsequently gauge the impact that mining has had on the environment of the State.”

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“Beneficial owners of the big mining companies in Nigeria should be unveiled and engaged to facilitate change in mining companies’ approach to mining in the country. There should be increased sensitization on climate-smart mining for all stakeholders in the mining sector,” the groups noted.

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