Raids on four mining sites by the Amotekun Corps in the Atakumosa Lest local Government Area Osun State has resulted in the arrest of ten Chinese and a Ghanaian on Monday.
Twenty-seven illegal miners including 17 Chinese and 10 Nigerians were also arrested by the Amotekun Corps in the state earlier this month.
Monday’s raids on illegal mining sites in Itagunmodi, Igun and Ariye 1and 2, which lasted about two hours, was carried out by Amotekun and the Joint Task Force on Banditry, Kidnapping and Illegal Mining, which was inaugurated recently by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
Acting on a hint from the residents, the security outfits swooped on the miners while on the sites and concluded their arrest.
The Director-General of the Amotekun Corps in Osun, Amitolu Shittu, confirmed the arrests on Tuesday.
“The success recorded so far is owing to the resolve of Governor Oyetola to rid the state of economic saboteurs,” Shittu said.
Illegal mining suspects for trial after investigation –Govt
Also, the Osun State Government said those arrested for illegal mining in the state would be taken before a court after probe into their activities had been concluded.
A statement by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Ismail Omipidan, on why the 17 Chinese illegal miners arrested at some mining sites on May 3 in the state had not been prosecuted, said the state was still investigating those so far apprehended.
“As a responsible and responsive government, we are determined to regulate mining activities within our state.
“If we do not sanitize the sector and take out illegal miners, we may end up like other countries who are now dealing with the negative consequences and concepts of illegal trade of natural resources ‘like blood diamond.
“We are determined to weed out illegal miners and stop negative implications such as environmental degradation in the state.
We will continue to comb our mining sites to rid them of illegal miners.
“We are currently carrying out investigations on those so far apprehended and necessary actions will be taken within legal limits once we are done,” Omipidan concluded.
It was gathered that the first set of 27 illegal miners arrested including the 17 Chinese in the state had been granted administrative bail.
Similarly, the set of 10 Chinese illegal miners and a Ghanian arrested on Monday at illegal mining sites had also been granted administrative bail.
Earlier, a miners’ group, Women in Mining, Nigeria, has accused the Osun State Government of ‘sabotage’ for refusing to hand over 17 Chinese nationals arrested for illegal mining to the Federal Government.
Chairperson of WIMIN, Janet Adeyemi, a former member of the House of Representatives, who spoke for the umbrella body of women miners in Nigeria, also called for the prosecution of ‘godfathers’ who are allegedly sponsoring the illegal miners.
The 17 Chinese are among 27 illegal miners arrested by the Osun State Government on May 3.
The group also included Senegalese, Burkinabes and some Nigerians.
Speaking on the matter, leader of Women in Mining, Nigeria, Adeyemi, said the refusal to hand over the illegal Chinese miners to the Federal Government would amount to sabotage on the part of the Osun State Government.
Noting that the Federal Government had initiated measures to reposition the mining sector to become a major source of revenue for the country, Adeyemi said the states were supposed to support the efforts being made by the Federal Government.
“If Osun State does not hand over the Chinese to the Federal Government for prosecution it is them (Osun State Government) contravening the laws and it could be viewed as sabotage.
“Osun State should not sabotage the efforts of the Federal Government by continuing to hold on to the Chinese.
“They should be handed over to the Federal Government,” she said.