By Akorede Adebiyi
In a bold move to tackle the growing issue of insecurity arising from illegal mining activities, the Oyo State Government has established a task force dedicated to monitoring and halting unauthorised mining activities across all the 33 Local Government Areas of the state.
The Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Barr. Abdulraheem Bayo Lawal, while speaking on the imperative of the new task force, said it will help drive Governor Seyi Makinde’s determination to secure mining communities from insecurity and exploitation.

He noted that the governor envisioned this in the Executive Order on Protection of Mining Communities against Insecurity and Exploitation, which he signed a few months ago.
Also, Director General (DG) of the Oyo State Mineral Development Agency, Mr. Abiodun Oni, who is the chairman of the new task force named Oyo State Bureau of Mining Compliance, said its establishment was meant to ensure that players in the mining sector observe global best practices and that their activities do not jeopardise the peace and security of the state.

According to Oni, Governor Makinde’s commitment to preserving the state’s natural resources, protecting the environment and ensuring sustainable economic development cannot be sacrificed on the altar of business gains.
Mr Oni added that Illegal mining has become a major problem in many parts of Nigeria, including Oyo State, causing insecurity, depleting valuable mineral resources and causing severe environmental degradation, including deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution. He said: “These unregulated activities also pose serious safety risks to miners and local communities, often lacking proper equipment and safety measures.
“So, the primary mandate of this bureau is to identify, monitor, and halt illegal mining activities throughout the state, aligning with the governor’s broader agenda of fostering economic growth while ensuring the protection and sustainable use of the state’s natural resources.
“The bureau comprises members from various Ministries, Agencies and Departments, including the Ministry of Environment, the Mineral Development Agency and all State Security agencies.
“This multi-agency approach is designed to leverage the expertise and resources of different sectors, ensuring a comprehensive and coordinated effort to tackle illegal mining,” Oni said.
The Oyo MIREMCO boss also said that one of the task force’s first actions will be to conduct a thorough assessment of mining sites and activities across the state, identifying hotspots of illegal mining and understanding the scope and impact of these activities.
“The bureau will also work to raise awareness among local communities about the dangers and legal consequences of illegal mining, educating the public to garner community support and cooperation in curbing these activities,” he said.
Oni emphasised that the task force will employ strict measures to enforce mining laws, while it will also prioritise dialogue and collaboration with local communities.
He added: “The government’s approach is not merely punitive but also supportive, aimed at creating a balanced and sustainable mining sector.
“This dual strategy is expected to yield long-term benefits, ensuring that mineral resources contribute to the state’s development without compromising the environment or public safety.
“Through enforcement, education, and the provision of alternative livelihoods, the government is taking a holistic approach to ensure the sustainable use of its mineral resources, ultimately benefiting both the environment and the people of Oyo State.”