FG seals mining company in Ogun over illegal activities

Community celebrates as sand dredging firm is sealed

From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta

A sand dredging and mining company operating in the Ilate-Etido Community in Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State has been sealed by the Federal Government over illegal mining activities.

The company, operating under the name of Ojibas Nigeria Limited and owned by a businessman from Osun State, was sealed on Tuesday evening by officers from the Mining Inspectorate Department, Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals and Development, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Daily Sun gathered that the operating licence of the mining company dredging laterite and sand in the community had been revoked by the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (NMCO), Abuja, since 12 August 2022.

It was also gathered that despite the revocation of the mining licence, which was published in the official gazette of the NMCO, Abuja, the company continued to carry on illegal mining activities, using police officers and soldiers as security cover.

Meanwhile, a combined team of soldiers from the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, and police officers from Zone 2 Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Onikan, Lagos, stormed the company on 28 May 2024 and arrested suspected illegal miners at a dredging site.

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The security team also arrested some police officers and soldiers providing cover for the illegal miners, headed by a Chinese national, and whisked them to Onikan for interrogation.

Scores of residents of the host community had, before then, staged a protest against the company, lamenting the negative and destructive impacts of the illegal dredging of sand in the area, which, according to them, had affected their farmlands, environment, and sources of livelihood.

Speaking with our correspondent on Wednesday about the sealing of the mining company, the community head of Ilate-Etido Community, Chief Shamsideen Ajibawo, commended the Federal Government for slamming the ‘stop work order’ on the company, which was operating illegally in the community.

He said the community will now experience a huge relief with the sealing action, adding that the mining company, apart from engaging in unauthorised activities, had caused serious environmental degradation to the Ilate-Etido Community.

“I personally wrote a series of letters to the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals, Cadastral Mining Office, Office of the Inspector-General of Police, Chief of Naval Staff, and Ministry of Mines, Ogun State, over the activities of these illegal miners.

“I also discovered, when I went to Abuja, that the company’s operating licence had been revoked, but the promoter of the company refused to leave the community, boasting that he had acquired all the land in Ilate-Etido and that the indigenes should vacate the land for him. The whole community was, however, thrown into jubilation as the combined team of soldiers from the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, and police officers from Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan, came to arrest the illegal miners and armed police they used to intimidate my people.

“With this latest development by the Federal Mining Office, Abuja, our people will be happy with the sealing of the illegal mining company as the company took them through hell,” Ajibawo stated.

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