Ibadan Explosion: Big Question To Ask…Ijesas? Are we safe?

The explosion that rocked a part of Ibadan, Oyo State, as a result of stockpiled explosive devices being used for mining activities has further alerted Osun residents on the danger of the indiscriminate mining activities going on in some parts of the state.

It would be recalled that there was an explosion at Dejo Oyelese Street, Adeyi Avenue, Old Bodija, Ibadan, on killing and injuring unspecified number of people, while properties were destroyed.

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State had declared that the explosion was a result of some explosive materials being used for mining.

The Ibadan explosion has further raised concerns about the safety of the people in mining areas in Osun State .

There’s no gainsaying the fact that the Ibadan explosion is an eyeopener to the looming danger of indiscriminate mining in Ijesaland therefore both legal and illegal miners must be checked for the safety of the society.

It has been observed that explosive materials are being used at quarry and some mining sites where core mining is taking place in the state such as Igun Ijesa, Iperindo, Ifewara, Ibodi, Iwara-Odo, Imogbara, Odo Ijesa, Eti Oni Ijesa,Isolo, Atorin-Ijesa, Ido-Ijesa

A non-governmental Organization, Urban Alert, linked the Ibadan explosion to the weakness of Nigeria mining laws and the inadequacies of public institutions, noting that is exposing Nigerians to greater dangers.

The group in a press release by its Communication Associate, Titilade Alayande, opined that weak mining laws and the inadequacies that exist in Nigeria’s public institutions create a conducive environment for illegal mining and uncontrolled mining.

According to Urban Alert, all the states in Nigeria must learn from the Ibadan explosion and must work with relevant federal government agencies to ensure compliance for the use and storage of essential mining materials that have the capacity to cause havoc before and after usage.

Speaking on the danger of indiscriminate mining in Osun, the group said: “Quarry and mining sites carrying out core mining activities may not escape the use of explosives for blasting rocks and hard surfaces.

“Therefore, we cannot wash off the hands of both licensed and illegal miners in Osun State from the use of explosives too.

“The Osun State government must as a matter of urgency liaise with relevant federal government agencies like the Mining Cadastre Office and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency to carry out a health and safety audit to ensure that there is compliance in the storage and use of harmful materials

“It is essential to emphasize the gravity of engaging in mining activities and the potential risks associated with improper handling of mining materials like the explosives. Weak mining laws and the inadequacies that exist in Nigeria’s public institutions create a conducive environment for illegal mining and uncontrolled mining, leading to significant lapses in public safety.

“The weak mining laws and weak government agencies open windows for illegalities and miners (licensed and illegal) often exploit the system.

“We call on the government to prioritize the safety of Nigerians by sincerely probing the activities of miners and avert a repeat of this incident.

“We must safeguard the environment and fulfil our responsibility towards protecting Nigerians.”

Reacting to the Ibadan explosion, the Ijesa Mineral Resources Advocacy Forum (IMRAF), called on security agencies in the state to investigate miners using explosive devices in Osun state and bring them under control.

The Advocacy Coordinator of the group, Mr. Wale Idowu said it is high time the government gave priority to the safety of people rather than pecuniary gains.

Idowu stated: “We must be concerned about the mining system in Ijesaland and other parts of Nigeria. We have since 2020 been advocating sustainable mining. “When you talk about sustainable mining, you are looking at the need to stop the use of heavy metals in mining because of their influence and consequences of such heavy metals.

“The incident in Ibadan signposted the need for citizens in Osun state, corporate citizens as well as ordinary people, to be very cautious; and the government should put the citizens interest above the pecuniary gain.

“The government should put on thinking cap on how to generating revenue without jeopardizing the future of the people they are governing. The interest of the people and keeping a safe environment should the uppermost.

“The Ibadan experience has buttressed the point that both the citizens and government have role to play in protecting the environment. The traditional leaders also have serious role to play in ensuring a clean, healthy and safe environment, and in ensuring that the interests of their people are well protected. They don’t have to negotiate their future on the altar of naira and kobo. Those are the lessons we need to learn from the Ibadan explosion.”

Asked about the materials being used for mining activities in Ijesaland, Idowu said: “Certainly, the miners use explosive devices, not only in Ijesaland but everywhere where mining is taking place. At our end in Ijesaland, we conducted soil and water test, and the results showed that some of these miners, particularly the artisanal miners, engaged in the use of heavy metals. That is responsible for the pollution of some rivers in Osun.

“Apart from the fact that the miners use explosives for unearthening the minerals, they also engaged in the use of heavy metals in washing them, and as a result the water underneath got polluted. The vascular impact of such practice is kidney, liver, skin and other severe disease. We have been also warned before that pregnant women will start to experience stillbirth and it will better to attend to such issue in earnest.

“Mining in an international business; it is because of who we are at the part of the world that sees us doing things adversely. Mining has its own process that must be duly followed.

“Government needs to sensitise the people on health mining activities. Government must engage the miners at regular intervals and verify who among them have authentic approval. Above all, there must be advocacy arrangement between government and various organization involved in mining activities.

“There is need for security agencies to investigate the miners using explosive materials and heavy metals and bring them under control to forestall any sad occurrence.

IjesaNews and Love Nigeria Publisher Sunday Adewusi said “Are we safe ? It is an eyeopener for us in Ijesaland’ so It is essential that we take a holistic approach to addressing the issues that contribute to the occurrence of such incidents.”

“Conducting a comprehensive review of the incident, strengthening cooperation between the Federal and State Governments, and addressing the root causes of such disasters, we can make our communities safer and more resilient.

Culled from OsunDefender

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