By Iyabo Adebisi
Oyo State Government has directed all the 33 local government chairmen in the state and traditional rulers areas to flush out illegal miners, bandits and land grabbers in their respective council areas to curb illegal mining and other criminal activities in the state.
The State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Olusegun Olayiwola stated this while addressing journalists after a closed-door meeting with the council chairmen at the Agodi Secretariat, Ibadan.
The commissioner while declaring that the state government has zero tolerance for crime and criminality said it would not stop at nothing to ensure the safety of lives and property of the citizens.
Mr Olayiwola also noted that the meeting had mandated the council bosses to compulsorily hold a joint security meeting every last Thursday of the month in their respective councils while the outcome of such meeting must be made available to the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters for necessary actions.
He said ” one major point that was extensively discussed today, is the issue of security of lives and property in Oyo state. You will recall that about three weeks ago, there was an explosion at Bodija, Ibadan which eventually turned out to be as a result of illegal activities of illegal or legal miners who are not supposed to keep such terrible equipment in residential areas.
” As a result of this, Chairmen and women in the 33 local government areas of Oyo state were invited to the office of the Hon. Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters on Monday and after the end of the meeting, the meeting decided to address the press about the outcome of the meeting.
“The security situation in Oyo state is very fluid, and as a result of this, the chairmen and chairwomen in the 33 local governments of Oyo state have decided that the three critical areas that the people and government of Oyo state need to look into are in the area illegal mining, land grabbing and banditry.
” We have been coping with the issue of banditry for a while now, but unfortunately, the issue of land grabbing has taken center stage of the insecurity of lives and property of the citizens of Oyo state now and the meeting discussed this extensively today and decided that forrtwith, the chairmen and chairwomen of the local government are being saddled with the responsibility of taking charge of the security situations of their local government as the construction of the federal republic of Nigeria have given them the power to do as the chief security officers of their local government.
” As a result of this we decided at today’s meeting that the illegal miners wherever they may be , the chairmen of various Local Governments should go after them, the men and women hunt and fish them out wherever they are
“This can easily be done with the collaboration, assistance and support of royal fathers and traditional chiefs all over the councils, when they see and say something, we will be able to apprehend these people.
“Our traditional rulers and chiefs knows where these people are operating because they live amongst them and cannot deny the fact that they don’t know the works of the people living in their domain.
“The meeting of today, as a matter of urgency, have saddled the chairmen of each of the 33 local governments to back home, hold an emergency meeting with security committees of their various Local Governments and come to the conclusion that the committee will serve as task force that will embark on the manhunting illegal miners, land grabbers and bandits.
While citing the recent suspension of the Onido of Ido , Oba. Gbolagade Babalola by the state government over alleged links with illegal miners urged royal fathers in the state expose anyone known to be having ties with illegal miners to inform the relevant authority for prompt action.
In a remark, the state Chairman, Associations of Local Government of Nigeria ALGON. Sikiru Sanda assured the state government that the council bosses would ensure adequate security surveillance in all the local governments to make the state not only safe for the citizens but also for investors.
The Director General, Solid Minerals Development Agency, Abiodun Oni urged citizens of the state to take security issues as their responsibility and not the state government alone, enjoining traditional rulers indulging in granting letters of consent to miners without consultation with the relevant authorities to desist from the act.