Oyo State Government, on Monday, ordered all the 33 local government chairmen in the state as well as traditional rulers and chiefs to flush out illegal miners, bandits and land grabbers in their respective council areas.
An explosion rocked Adeyi Avenue at Old Bodija in Ibadan, on Tuesday, January 16, killing five people, and injuring 77 others while 55 houses were damaged.
The state governor, Seyi Makinde, later attributed the explosion to the activities of an alleged illegal miner who he said stored explosives at home.
The order for the flushing out of illegal miners was given by the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Olusegun Olayiwola while addressing newsmen after a closed-door meeting with the council bosses at the conference room of the ministry in Ibadan, the state capital.
He also warned that the government has zero tolerance for crime and criminality and will stop at nothing to ensure the safety of the lives and property of its citizens.
Olayiwola vowed that the government would not fold its arms and watch criminals take over the state adjudged as one of the safest in the country.
He said, ”One of the major points that was extensively discussed today (Monday) is the issue of security of lives and property in the state. You will recall that about three weeks ago, there was an explosion at Bodija, Ibadan which eventually turned out to be a result of illegal activities of illegal miners who are not supposed to keep such terrible equipment in the residential areas.
“As a result of this, chairmen and women in the 33 local government areas of the state were invited to the office of the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters today (Monday) and we decided to address the press about the outcome of the meeting.
“The security situation in the state is very fluid, and as a result of this, the chairmen and chairwomen in the local governments have decided that the three critical areas that the people and government of the state need to look into are the areas of 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 centre stage of the insecurity of lives and property of the citizens of the state. The meeting discussed this extensively today (Monday) and decided that forthwith, the chairmen and chairwomen of the local government are being saddled with the responsibility of taking charge of the security situations of their local governments as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has given them the power to do as the Chief Security Officers of their local governments.
”As a result of this, we decided that the illegal miners, wherever they may be, the chairmen of various local governments should go after them, they should 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 something, they should say something, to be able to apprehend these people.
”As a matter of urgency, they should hold an emergency meeting with security committees of their various local governments and conclude that the committee will serve as a task force that will embark on the manhunting of illegal miners, land grabbers and bandits.
“The meeting had mandated the council bosses to compulsorily hold a joint security meeting every last Thursday of the month in their respective councils beginning from February 2024.”
He said the outcome of such a meeting must be made available to the local government and chieftaincy matters’ ministry before the end of each month so that the ministry can take the decisions or findings of each of the councils to the state governor, Seyi Makinde.
While citing the recent suspension of the Onido of Ido, Oba Gbolagade Babalola by the state government over alleged links with illegal miners, the commissioner urged royal fathers to expose anyone known to be having ties with illegal miners to inform the relevant authority for prompt action.
In his remarks, the state Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Sikiru Sanda, assured the government of adequate security surveillance in all the local governments to make the state not only safe for the citizens but also for local and foreign investors.
In his remarks, the Director-General, of Solid Minerals Development Agency, Abiodun Oni, urged every citizen to take security issues as their responsibility and not the government alone