By Adekola Afolabi
The Ondo State Government has outlawed the closure of markets, shops, business premises and restrictions on commercial activities in any part of the state without the prior approval of the State Governor.
Also, the government has banned all mining activities in any part of the state particularly in government forest reserves with immediate effect.
These decisions were taken at the first EXCO meeting in the year.
Briefing Government House reporters shortly after the meeting, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Sir Charles Titiloye, stated that the Council frowned at incessant closure of markets, shops and sales outlets in any part of the state, and as such, resolved that such step shall not be allowed without the approval of the governor of the state.
“The Council observed the increase in closure of markets and restrictions on market activities in the state without following due process of law. Sometimes, shops and sales outlets are closed to customers by traditional rulers without notice to the public, thereby subjecting citizens to unnecessary hardship.
“The Council also noted there is need for resolution to prescribe a procedure for modalities for closure of markets, business premises, restrictions to commercial activities in the state.
“Consequently, the Council resolved that the closure of markets, shops, business premises and restrictions on commercial activities should not take place in any part of the state without the prior approval of the Governor of the state.
“That the request for approval for such closure must be by application made through the Local Government Chairman of the affected area to the Governor of the state for approval.
He added that the Governor may grant, modify or refuse such application, and that if such an application is granted, the Governor shall issue Executive guidelines for the closure of market which will be published in the media.
Also, Commissioner for Energy, Mine and Mineral Resources, Razaq Obe, said henceforth, no mining is permitted in the state without following necessary procedures. He also called on residents to always report any illegal activities in their areas to appropriate authorities.
The government which frowned at the increasing spate of illegal mining across the state, especially Igbara-Oke/Owena corridor, revealed that farmlands and cash crops are always destroyed by the illegal miners while carrying out their illegal activities.
“The state is saying from now on, no mining is permitted in the state if the procedures have not been followed. And no mining is permitted at all especially in a government forest reserves without the permission of the necessary department, especially the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Mineral Resources.
“Obas, landowners are expected to liaise with the same Ministry before they grant consent to any in their territories. The Council directed that any place where illegal mining is permitted will have the C of O revoked. No equipment is expected to move on any land in this state without a prior authorization.
“Council welcomes legitimate business owners and miners to come and prospect and exploit Ondo State, provided they adhere to all the procedures and extant laws including respect for people’s businesses, farmlands and cash crops in the state,” he added.
Also speaking, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Fatai Olotu, said issue of indiscriminate citing of petrol stations across the state, particularly in the residential areas with the attendant dangers has equally attracted the Council’s attention.
To this end, he disclosed that the Council has directed the Ministry to, within three weeks, undertake inventory of all filling stations in the state to curb illegal establishment of filling stations.
He added that Council has directed that no approval would be given to the establishment of new stations until the process of inventory is completed.
On new wave of COVID-19 infection in the state, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Prof Francis Faduyile, disclosed that there has been increasing cases of the deadly virus with 343 active cases, but with low fatality.
While noting that one death has been recorded in Okitipupa, Faduyile said government has embarked on contacts tracing even as it is doing everything possible to contain the spread of the virus in the state.
While noting that January to February is a peak period of Lassa Fever, the Special Adviser disclosed that within the last one week, over 32 cases have been recorded in the state with two deaths.