FG Suspends Mining Activities Within OAU, Environs

The Federal government has suspended all mining activities within the environment of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife.

This was contained in a statement by Segun Tomori, special adviser on Media to the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Dele Alake.

He said the suspension was to allow for the conclusion of investigations into suspected illegal mining around the university and the Teaching Hospital Complex and its environs.

The minister disclosed this in his office on Tuesday, after a meeting with OAU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adebayo Bamire and the Chief Medical Director of OAUTHC, Prof. John Okeniyi

According to Alake, sequel to reports in certain sections of the media about activities of illegal miners within the precincts of the university, the ministry immediately swung into action to ascertain the veracity of the allegations.

”Following the outcry generated by reports of illegal mining or suspicion of nefarious activities by mining operators within OAU, we immediately deployed officials of the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) and Mines Inspectorate for on-the-spot assessment. Preliminary reports that reached me indicated that there were indeed some activities around the premises. The ministry then stopped all activities, whether legal or illegal, for further investigations,“ the minister asserted.

Speaking further, Alake revealed that upon summoning some operators discovered to be carrying out illegal activities, they presented some licences and letters of consent which necessitated further investigations to ascertain their authenticity, hence the imperative of inviting the university authorities for a parley.

”We have had a very fruitful meeting, and a lot of facts have come out of it. Based on the outcome of the meeting, I announce the indefinite suspension, with immediate effect, all mining activities within the premises of the university, the university teaching hospital and in fact around the area and boundaries of the university, until the conclusion of thorough investigations”, the minister added.

In his submission, Prof Bamire expressed gratitude to the minister for the audience, highlighting the capacity of the university to play an active role in exploration, research, and other sectors of the mining value chain.

”We have some of the best geologists and mining professionals in the country.

“We feel that we need to set up a sort of excellent research and training facility on mineral resources within the university. If we are able to get that in the university, it will help us, support the university community, the state, and ultimately contribute to the development of the mining sector, “he added.

The vice-chancellor also hinted about the university’s application for an exploration licence, expressing optimism that with the anticipated approval, the university would be able to carry out exploration, discover the distribution and quality of mineral resources within the university environs and across the country.

On the vice-chancellor’s entourage were the Registrar, Kamarudeen Bakare; Head of Department of Geology & Geophysics, Prof. Olatokunbo Alao; Director, Physical Planning, Dr. Anthony Owolabi; Director, Maintenance Services, Engr. Olawuyi Isaac while the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of OAU Teaching Hospital, Prof. John Okeniyi joined the meeting virtually.