Oyo Govt Shuts Down Illegal Mining Factory, Arrests Four Persons

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Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, on Saturday, ordered the closure of a facility being used by suspected illegal miners to process and package lithium out of the state.

He also ordered the arrest of four persons suspected to be operating at the facility which was originally a factory meant for recycling batteries and tyres. They had operated against the approved license from the government for business operations in the state.

Makinde, who was on an unscheduled inspection tour to the factory site at Idi Ayunre, Oluyole Local Government, Ibadan, said that a preliminary investigation revealed that the factory was being operated by some Chinese whom, the Federal Government issued an operational license to in line with a constitutional provision, but without inputs from the state government.

The governor explained that the factory and its operators contravened Executive Order 001 of 2024 on the safe handling of harmful substances, noting that the arrested factory workers would be prosecuted accordingly. The governor also said that the state government would take over the factory facility through a court process until it gets to the bottom of the matter.

“You can see what is going on here; it is still the same problem – the illegal mining activities. Sadly, the folks are even getting bolder. This place, according to records available to us, was meant to be a yard for recycled tyres and batteries. But we can’t see a single battery or tyre here. They are crushing lithium here and they have support from all over”.

“The preliminary investigation indicated that some Chinese are the ones leading this. They also have a lawyer from Katsina.

“The state government will take over the facility via a court process, as this is a clear violation of the Executive Order that I signed, and it is a problem that we have to address.

“Some four persons have been arrested and they are with the security agencies. The Chinese people have been taken to immigration and, once we can find something to prosecute them, then, we will prosecute them.

“We need to get to the bottom of this but, in the meantime, this facility will be taken over by the government of Oyo State.”

Governor Makinde equally expressed concerns with the retention of mining in the Exclusive Legislative List, stating that there will always be issues of security threats when states do not have input in the issuance of mining licenses.

He added that though Oyo State remained open to investors and will always do everything to make businesses thrive, those businesses must obey local laws and regulations.
“I think it is the same thing about the constitutional provision where they issue licenses to miners in Abuja without the state governments having an input. And when you have the fallout, the state will still have to bear the brunt.

“We will still try to foster cooperation among stakeholders because we want businesses to thrive in Oyo State, but local laws and regulations must be obeyed. We are not asking you not to come to Oyo State but when you come here, you should be able to obey the local laws. That is where we are,” the governor said.

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