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Thursday, 18 April 2019

After the Security Sensitization Summit, Let There Be A Youth Mining Summit: By Oladimeji Lasore



I attended the recently organized Security Sensitization Summit under the auspices of the State of Osun Government and I have one take-home; that by now Osun is sitting on a keg of gun powder that may explode if caution isn't taken.

One must applaud the timely proactiveness of the gentleman at the helms of affairs of the State in person Governor Gboyega Oyetola.

All the Security Chiefs agreed that illegal miners from Zamfara state have infiltrated into Osun and are causing serious security threats as some of these miners that are generally considered to be of Hausa origin are not. Some of them are from Niger and Chad Republics and they are now well established in the hinterlands of many of Osun communities such as Osu, Ibodi, Ifewara, Igun, Itagunmodi, Ibokun, Ilesa, Ile-Ife, Ikirun, Iragbiji, Garage Olode to mention just a few.

But why should mineral deposits that are supposed to be a blessing in disguise turn to our woes?

The Federal Government of Nigeria recently announced a total ban on mining activities in Zamfara State and its environs.

The decision is part of fresh measures to restore peace to the state bedevilled by banditry.

Hundreds of people have been killed or kidnapped by the bandits in Zamfara in the past year.

There have been suspicions that the criminality is a fallout of the artisanal mining of gold and lead in the state.

The government took the decision because it found out there was a relationship between the bandits and illegal miners.

The government also mandated all foreigners within the Zamfara State mining sites to leave immediately abd all the sites have been taken over by a special task force comprising of relevant security agencies.

Alas! Zamfara State runaway illegal miners are finding safe abode in Osun State and majority of them are in Ijesaland.

The Hausaman proverb "Hakki da ka rena shi kan soni maka ido" meaning
The grass which you disregard will injure your eye" rightly comes to mind here.

No man or thing is too insignificant to be altogether disregarded.

Traditional mining, also known as old-school mining, is a mining method involving the use of simple manual tools, such as shovels, pickaxes, hammers, chisels and pans. It is done in both surface and underground environments. Until the early 1900s, traditional mining was widely used throughout the world. It is still a used mining method in some countries.

In traditional surface and underground mining, hammers and chisels with pickaxes and shovels are used. Pans are used for placer mining operations, such as gold panning.

The traditional method of cracking rock was fire-setting, which involved heating the rock with fire to expand it.[3][4] Once the rock was heated by fire it was quenched with water to break it. Fire-setting was one of the most effective rock breaking methods until 1867 when Alfred Nobel  invented dynamite.

Significant to say here that the Hausas have a mastery of this tedious archaic method of mining so I ask to know what stops Osun Government from looking into modern mining for youth empowerment to make use of less tedious non-traditional method?

I engaged a member of Osun House of Assembly elect in a discussion after making a visit to some illegal mining sites of Atakunmosa West LG and his submission is that "no Ijesa youth will opt to make a living from mining after seeing images of mud-covered gold miners with pickaxes, washing pans under the burning sun.

I think Osun State can roll out a youth empowerment program in urban mining using modern technology and more glamorous and modern-day version of digging and washing.

Let there be a Youth Mining Summit where experts and government officials will speak about their desire to empower Osun youth in the mining sector for jobs. I advise that Osun needs to focus on youth development issues. We can encourage more young Osun indegenes to go into the mining industry: let us create mining awareness by organizing mine sites visits among our Junior Secondary School students. We can develop a mining teaching curriculum in our primary and secondary schools. Osun will be able to teach the modern skill to our young ones. This sort of exposure, I hope, will show young people from diverse backgrounds and educational qualifications that there are numerous job opportunities within the mining sector and this will eliminate the incursion of Hausa illegal miners into our lands and eliminate or reduce this threat to our security.

I suggest that Esa-oke Polytechnic should introduce urban mining National Diploma course of study as there is sustainable employment on our mining sites.

These initiatives have the same goal: to empower youth with marketable skills that will not only provide them with sustainable income and to put a check on the influx of Hausa illegal miners that threaten our security.

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