Osun River has been heavily contaminated with mercury, lead, cyanide and other injurious elements that are poisonous to human health, a report by a non-profit organisation has told Osun and Oyo States.
Geographical Information Analysis and Laboratory Tests carried out established the cause of Osun River pollution and affirmed the presence of heavy elements in the water, Urban Alert, a civic initiative stated.
Osun river flows from Ekiti through Osun, Oyo, Ogun and Lagos States. Oyo and Osun States dammed the water at Asejire Ede respectively.
Executive Director of a Civil Society Organisation, Urban Alert, Anthony Adejuwon revealed this while addressing newsmen in Osogbo, capital of Osun State.
Urban Alert blamed the harmful contamination of the Osun River on the activities of gold mining which it said has put the lives of over 2 million residents of Osun State in danger.
“Our scientific examinations revealed that the Osun River is being polluted by the activities of gold miners in some parts of Osun State. Further physicochemical and microbiological tests have revealed that the Osun River has been heavily contaminated with mercury, lead, cyanide and other injurious elements.
“No doubt, the harmful contamination of the Osun River due to mining activities has put the lives of over 2 million residents of Osun State in danger. Traditionalists, Osun devotees, local and foreign tourists of the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove and over 20 communities making use of the Osun River are exposed to cancer and other deadly ailments like brain and kidney failure, hearing loss, growth retardation, anaemia, impaired vision, paralysis and death.
“It is disheartening to state that the government at all levels has remained incapacitated, claiming various reasons why it is difficult to end this life-threatening situation whose negative impacts would lead to the death of many in a few years, if not currently happening.
“We are saddened by the destruction of the identity of Osun State, the cultural identity of the people of Osun State and the ecosystem, with no regard for the tradition, business and wellbeing of millions of Osun State residents.
The group, however, called on the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Osun State Government, civil society organizations and the international community for intervention saying “over 2 million residents of Osun State whose lives directly or indirectly depend on the 213km river, which currently houses five water dams, Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove (UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Monuments).”