FG suspends mining activities within OAU, environs

OAU Mining

L-R: Director, Physical planning, Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU), Dr Anthony Owolabi, Director, Maintenance service, OAU, Mr Olawuyi Olasupo, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, Vice Chancellor OAU, Prof. Adebayo Bamire, Registrar of OAU, Mr. Kamarudeen Bakare and Head, Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, Prof Olatokunbo Alao, after a meeting with the Minister in his office on Tuesday in Abuja.

By Martha Agas

The Federal Government has indefinitely suspended mining activities within the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) campus and the OAU Teaching Hospitals Complex in Ile-Ife, Osun.

This is pending investigations into suspected illegal mining activities in the area.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, announced the suspension shortly after meeting with the management of OAU, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adebayo Bamire, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) had called for investigations into reports of illegal mining activities at OAU.

The President of NANS Senate, Segun Elvis had said that the activities posed a significant threat to the safety and well-being of the institution`s students and staff.

Similarly, the National Association of University Students, OAU chapter, had also condemned the development and called for appropriate actions by relevant authorities to address the situation.

In response to the situation, the school management submitted a formal complaint to the relevant government authorities for prompt action.

The minister stated that, following the reports, officials of the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) and the Mines Inspectorate were deployed to the institution for an on-site assessment and preliminary investigations.

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“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 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 now orders stoppage of all activities, whether legal or illegal, for further investigation, “ he said.

Alake stated that he invited the school authorities to his office when the illegal operators, who had been summoned by the deployed officials, presented some licenses and letters of consent regarding their activities.

He said that the immediate suspension of the activities was necessary to enable the ministry verify the authenticity of the documents.

Speaking, the VC stated that OAU has some of the best geologists and mining professionals in the country, who were capable of handling exploration, research, and other activities of the mining value chain.

“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 said.

According to him, the university has applied for an exploration license, which if approved, will enable it to carry out legal activities such as exploration and research on the distribution and quality of mineral resources.

He said that the activities would be within the university environs and across the country. (NAN)

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