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Illegal mining: Outrage as Nigerians seek stop to Chinese miners’ activities in Osun, Lagos



Illegal mining: Outrage as Nigerians seek stop to Chinese miners’ activities in Osun, Lagos

In what can be described as a spark of consciousness against environmental pollution and alleged extortion, many Nigerians on social media have protested against “illegal mining” in Lagos and Osun communities.

Expressing their displeasure through the Twitter hashtag #StopChineseIllegalMining on Sunday, May 28, the protesters stated that Chinese miners have made themselves lords on the Nigerian natural resources which belong to the people and government.

They also called on the necessary government agencies to check the activities of the miners at the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) in Lagos and others in Osun communities.

“Marching with pride to protect our soil and environment. Chinese illegal mining has gone too far, and it’s time to put an end to it. Together, we can restore balance,” a tweet said.

Another tweet read “No more exploitation! Chinese illegal mining is depleting our natural resources.

Let’s raise awareness and support sustainable practices. Join the movement today.”

Recall that many residents living in Osun communities earlier complained about the unlawful mining operations done by the Chinese which have continued to pose tremendous risk.

In December, 2020, residents of Opa community in Osun accused a team of Chinese miners of environmental abuse and encroachment on their land.

The miners, who were allegedly looking for gold, had purchased a small portion of land near a stream from a local chief.

However, they later expanded their mining activities to other parts of the community, digging close to some houses and causing damage and flooding, according to a report from Punch Newspaper.

The residents said they tried to stop the miners but they were ignored and intimidated by armed policemen guarding the site.

One of the eye-witnesses had narrated the incident thus:

“When these Chinese miners first came, a colleague house owner saw them using a big machine to dig on a parcel of land looking for gold. We confronted them. When they didn’t retreat, we started pelting them with stones. They were forced to retreat.

“A few days later, around 1:30am, the Chinese miners and their labourers came back and commenced work on two plots of land belonging to me. They were looking for gold. Despite our complaint, they have continued excavation.

“Many other houses were affected. Government and security agents should intervene and save us from the serious dangers we have been exposed to. Several buildings are now in serious danger of being washed away.”

Futile effort to regulate the illegal mining activities of chinese

Although the past Governor of Osun State Gboyega Oyetola promised to regulate the activities of mining in the state in 2019, residents of the affected communities said it has not yielded much result.

The plan was to register all miners operating in the state to prevent crime and environmental degradation.

Three years later, residents are still complaining about the illegal activities and the untold hardship it continued to heap on them.

Many media outlets also reported that some quarry operators fought with residents who were agitating over the illegal mining activities in their community.

The residents had accused the quarry owners of blasting rocks indiscriminately, causing air pollution, noise disturbance, and damage to buildings.

Even though the quarry operators had always denied the allegations and claimed that they had obtained the necessary permits and approvals from the government and the traditional ruler, residents continue to find justifiable reasons to call for illegal miners, dominated by the Chinese, to be stopped.

Landlords protested

The land owners within the communities have also lamented and protested against the mining activities of some quarry operators in their areas.

The landlords, according to a Channels TV report, indicated that Chinese miners were operating illegally and without the consent of the government or the traditional ruler.

“Majority of us have relocated our aged parents to safety areas, for our lives and property are no longer safe in this area. Anytime we are leaving home, our children must follow us, for we are not sure of any hazard that may occur before our arrival back to the house. Maybe the house might have fallen or cracked before we come back,” the Chaiman of Landlord Association in Ilode Area, Olafare Olarotimi said.

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