By RahmanTaofeeq
Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, has mandated the 33 newly elected Local Government Chairmen to take responsibility for the challenges and opportunities in the mining sector in their respective areas.
The governor spoke through the Director-General of the Oyo State Mineral Development Agency and Executive Chairman of the Pacesetter Mineral Development Company, Mr. Abiodun Oni, during a meeting held at the Agency’s office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.
Governor Makinde emphasised the importance of harnessing the state’s mineral resources for the benefit of citizens, noting, however, that the operations in the sector must not be allowed to have adverse effect on the security of lives and property in the state.
Oni highlighted that while the mining sector is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Government, states and local governments have a critical role to play in ensuring that mining operations are conducted securely and with the consent of host communities.
He charged the local government chairmen in the state to ensure that miners obtain the necessary consent letters and Community Development Agreements before commencing operations.
The Director General emphasised that the primary duty of the government is to protect life and property, and that local government chairmen must take this responsibility seriously, as mining operations can sometimes be accompanied by security risks.
He urged the chairmen to collaborate with the state government to ensure that Oyo State is not a security risk in the mining industry.
He said: “Governor Makinde has demonstrated that security is paramount to economic expansion and the wellbeing of the people by investing heavily on securing the state.
“The government has demonstrated in the last five years that the primary function of securing lives and property is number one on its agenda; so, the government’s resolve to explore mineral development as one of the avenues for shoring up the resources of the state has not in any way eroded that function.
“As the administrators at the grassroots, security is one of your responsibilities and it is expected that you should live up to that responsibility by protecting your people from the hazards of mining operations.
“So, let me tell you that as the governor says, if you see something, say something and the government will do something. The governor has shown his passionate commitment to securing Oyo State from the dangerous side effects of mining by signing the Executive Order on Protection of Mining Communities against Insecurity and Exploitation.
“But as his eyes and ears at the grassroots, you must be alive to your duties by ensuring that the state government is not kept in the dark regarding mining operations in your respective domains.”
In her own contribution, the Agency’s Coordinating Director, Mrs. Olufunke Omidiran, encouraged the local government chairmen to take an active role in mining operations in their areas, as it is part of their responsibilities and a key aspect of their election mandate.
In his goodwill message at the event, the Chairman of Oluyole Local Government, Engr. Akeem Olatunji, acknowledged the security challenges associated with mining operations.
He urged his colleagues to work with the state government to maintain security and protect life and property in their areas.
The event was attended by local government chairmen, traditional rulers and stakeholders in the mining industry.