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Kangile: Kwara Community Calls For Development Amidst Mining Activities

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Kangile: Kwara Community Calls For Development Amidst Mining Activities

It is estimated that 80 per cent of mining in the northern parts of Nigeria are done illegally, with about million people involved

Ilorin, Kwara State– Kangile a community in Ilorin South Local government in Kwara State has been grappling with the impacts of activities of illegal miners who are driven by the promise of quick wealth.

The Kangile is located in Ilorin South, Akanbi ward 5 behind Royal Valley Estate Kulende Sango, Ilorin, Kwara State.

It is estimated that 80 per cent of mining in the northern parts of Nigeria are done illegally, with about a million people involved.

It was gathered that illegal mining activities continue to thrive because of the failure of the government to put in place strict measures to tackle the menace.

Among the devastating impacts of illegal mining that the people of Kangile have had to face over the years are deforestation, soil erosion, water, noise and air pollution which continue to affect their health and quality of life.

During a visit to the community, residents spoke in hushed tones about the environmental degradation, the loss of arable land, and the shrinking water sources that sustain their livelihoods. They also spoke of efforts they have taken to put an end to the activities of the illegal miners.

According to the residents, they have on different occasions written to the state government and state environmental regulation agency against incessant impacts of mining activities in their community and neighbouring communities.

A community leader Mr. Muritala Oniguguru, who narrated the ordeals of the community dwellers, said

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“Whenever the miners used highly explosive devices to blast rocks for commercial purposes, it usually resulted in cracks in most buildings within and around the community.

He added members of the community also suffer sudden shocks from heavy sounds.

Another community leader, Dauda ‘Baba Qudus’, Assistant Secretary Kangile phase II progressive community also revealed that scores of trucks transport mineral resources worth millions of naira from the community on a daily basis.

He also lamented that despite the location of the community within the state capital, it suffers various developmental challenges like bad roads, poor power supply and lack of access to potable water.

When contacted, the Kwara State Government revealed that about 230 mining companies have been operating in different locations across the 16 Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state without licenses.

The Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Okanlawon Musa Olarewaju who made this disclosure, said none of the companies had come forward to revalidate their licences.

“No fewer than 230 mining operators were in Kwara State and none of them had come forward to revalidate their license,” Olarewaju said.

He added that the government has called them now to come to the ministry to bring their documents for regularization and revalidation.

Olarewaju also announced that the Kwara government had pledged to support the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in its fight against illegal miners in the state.

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He added that the government said the decision of the Ilorin Zonal Command of the EFCC to fight illegal mining activities in Kwara deserves the support and commendation of all citizens.

80 illegal miners arrested in 10 months – EFCC

Last year, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arrested a number of illegal miners, including foreigners in different parts of Kwara State, but despite these arrests, illegal and irresponsible mining activities still continue unabated in these areas including Kangile community.

The EFCC said it arrested about 80 illegal miners within 10 months in different areas of Kwara state in 2023. Michael Nzekwe, the zonal commander of the EFCC, disclosed when he hosted Abdulquawiy Olododo, the State Commissioner for Solid Minerals Development.

Nzekwe narrated how intelligence had revealed the operation of illegal mining sites across the state and the efforts of the EFCC to check the menace.

According to him, this led to the arrest of the illegal miners with truckloads of assorted minerals

“It is alarming the rate at which the resources of the state are being plundered by artisan/illegal miners. If the resources are channelled through the right sources and put into good use, they are enough to sustain the economy of the state and make it self-reliant,” he said.

Speaking on the impacts of illegal mining activities, a geologist, Mr Babatunde Isiaq, said because of poor governance and lax monitoring, the actual figures of innocent people who die daily from toxins gotten through illegal mining, which is rampant in many parts of the country, is unknown. “Because there is a fear that too many citizens have been exposed, and tumours, cancers and fetal deformity could be prevalent in the future in the affected communities,” he said.

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Way Forward

The state government is implored to strengthen regulations to curb illegal mining activities in different parts of the state. The government should also liaise with the Federal government to initiate diplomatic ways to address the involvement of foreigners in illegal mining activities in the country.

The media and civil society must engage in advocacy against illegal mining. Local dwellers should also be sensitised to the dangers of illegal mining.

The Secretary, Kangile Community Development Association, Mr Lawal Hamzat said that the community members want a turnaround in the fortune of the area. According to Mr Hamzat, mining activities in the community ought to be a blessing and not a curse.

Mr Lawal said that a series of letters had been written to the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Health, and the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board, KWSUBEB without a fruitful response.

He, however, called for the construction of motorable roads to improve economic activities there, the establishment of functional schools, healthcare centers and other social amenities.

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