From Lateef Dada, Osogbo
Activities of miners have posed dangers to many families in Opa, Ile-Ife, Osun State. They were rendered homeless due to land degradation and collapse as a result of massive mining in the area.
Residents of Awolumate Zone 3, Opa, cried out over the danger they were being exposed to. Some abandoned their houses due to the shaky condition occasioned by mining. When our correspondent visited the community, expatriates were seen supervising the machine operators on a large hectare of land where mining operations were on going.
Chairman of Awolumate Zone 3, Olafare Abimbola, explained that the miners started from the waterways. They later invaded some plots of land already acquired by the people: “We were in our homes when some people suddenly entered our community with different machines and started working on our land.
“We were unable to stop them at the time they arrived because they passed through a different route to our community. Assuming they passed through our route, we would have chased them away. We have a gate here in the route that entered our domain. They passed through the second community.
“By the time we know what is happening, they have already bulldozed the properties on the land. Nevertheless, we moved closer to them and asked them to identify themselves. We were told the owners that sold the land to them.
“With this, we saw that they are working on the river which has been causing floods in our community. This will only add to the level of flood affecting us. A lot of people were affected. We usually rescue them from their homes during rainy season.
“We told them that they were complicating the flood issues by using bulldozers on the river but they kept mum. But they were ready to attack us that day.
“Afterward, we invited some of their representatives who are Yoruba. They told us that we should go and write a list of things we needed in the community, that they would do them for us.
“They didn’t fulfil their promises. They have been working day and night although we didn’t sign any undertaking with them. They are already passing their boundaries, going beyond what they told us. They are now bulldozing properties. They do that mostly at the night, thereby endangering the lives of people.
“Like 20 houses have been affected. This is beyond my power. I cannot control them. Even now they are nearing my own house.
“That is why we are beckoning for help from people to save us from them before they destroy us. The risk that surrounds it is that residents normally flee for safety during heavy rain. Right now, the river is a dam, and all the dry land before is now full of water.
“This posed a risk to our children too. I monitor my kids with phones when they are in school because they can try to move closer to the river to see the new changes. These people dug deep potholes, which are very dangerous.
“I told them the only thing the community wants is for them to exit. We didn’t give them any consent to do anything in our community. They are now buying more land. They want to extend their activities. They are ready to destroy our properties and endanger our lives. We don’t want them in our community. The potholes are very deep and they have spent one month now. Please we want you to come to our aid.”
Another resident, Ogunwuyi Grace, said her vacant two plots that she uses for plantain farming have been invaded and all the plantain cleared.
Evangelist Adeoye said: “The miners told us they have licence to work on the river. They later extended it to people’s properties. The Federal Government should intervene and stop the miners before they ruin our community. They have come to us that we should sell our houses and churches to them, but we refused.”
Olugbenga Fabeku said: “If it is true that the traditional rulers are collecting money from the miners, the higher authority should intervene. It is time for Ooni, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, to speak up. It is wrong to bring soldiers and policemen to this community when there is no war.”