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FG suspends mining activities within OAU after reports of illegal operations

Dele Alake says the immediate suspension of the activities was necessary to enable the ministry to verify the authenticity of the documents.

Obafemi Awolowo University Gate.

This is pending investigations into suspected illegal mining activities in the area.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, announced the suspension shortly after meeting with the management of OAU, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adebayo Bamire, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) had called for investigations into reports of illegal mining activities at OAU.

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The President of the NANS Senate, Segun Elvis, said that the activities posed a significant threat to the safety and well-being of the institution`s students and staff.

Similarly, the National Association of University Students, OAU chapter, had also condemned the development and called for appropriate actions by relevant authorities to address the situation.

In response to the situation, the school management submitted a formal complaint to the relevant government authorities for prompt action.

The minister stated that, following the reports, officials of the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) and the Mines Inspectorate were deployed to the institution for an on-site assessment and preliminary investigations.

“Following the outcry generated by reports of illegal mining or suspicion of nefarious activities by mining operators within OAU, we immediately deployed officials of the NGSA and Mines Inspectorate for on-the-spot assessment.

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“Preliminary reports that reached me indicated that there were indeed some activities around the premises. The ministry now orders stoppage of all activities, whether legal or illegal, for further investigation," he said.

Alake stated that he invited the school authorities to his office when the illegal operators, who had been summoned by the deployed officials, presented some licenses and letters of consent regarding their activities.

He said that the immediate suspension of the activities was necessary to enable the ministry to verify the authenticity of the documents.

Speaking, the VC stated that OAU has some of the best geologists and mining professionals in the country, who are capable of handling exploration, research, and other activities of the mining value chain.

“We need to set up a sort of excellent research and training facility on mineral resources within the university.

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“ If we can get that in the university, it will help us, support the university community, the state, and ultimately contribute to the development of the mining sector, “he said.

According to him, the university has applied for an exploration license, which if approved, will enable it to carry out legal activities such as exploration and research on the distribution and quality of mineral resources.

He said the activities would be within the university environs and across the country.

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