The Ondo State Government through its State Environmental Protection Agency (OSEPA) in its quest to safeguard the State’s environment has uncovered some illegal sand mining sites in the outskirt of Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The Special Adviser to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Environment, Mr. Oseni Oyeniyi led the monitoring team of OSEPA to various sites where serious land degradation were discovered.
Oyeniyi noted with dismay the level of damage done to the environment through indiscriminate excavation of sand beyond acceptable level from different spots in the area, causing water logged and vegetal destruction of the area, and thereby posing threats to the entire ecosystem.
During a meeting with association of Sand and Quarry Operators and Suppliers, Union of Tipper and Quarry Employees and the Seriki Hausawa of Shasha market, Alh. Shehu Ibrahim Dangari in his office, the Special Adviser warned that government will not hesitate to sanction Quarry and Tipper operators found to be causing environmental degradation through their activities in the state.
He read the riot act to the mining operatives, saying that government will no longer tolerate any deviation from extant regulations and operational guidelines as applicable to sand mining activities in the State.
According to him, anything short of this is capable of long term devaluation of the environment and safety of the public.
He enjoined them to always obtain necessary permits from OSEPA and desist from digging below the permissible level and to always cover their trucks while conveying their products within the town.
Oyeniyi said government will no longer tolerate illegal and indiscriminate excavation or digging of land by members of the affected unions without first securing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from Ondo State Environmental Protection Agency (OSEPA).
“Before now, some months ago, we called a meeting of these associations as regards their activities in the state. We notice the level of environmental degradation caused by their activities without any form of remediation in those sites. So, we notice that after the meeting nothing was done based on what we agreed upon.
“After series of reports from people of Ondo State, we moved to various sites to see for ourselves, to inspect the level of damage and havoc caused to our environment as a result of their activities – digging the land indiscriminately even at a closer proximity the developed areas.
“So, we called them to be able to control their activities, and tell them what to do so as not to incur the wrath of the law. We have told them that the Environmental Law is there. And anybody that violates it will be sanctioned”, Oyeniyi stressed.
The OSEPA Acting Permanent Secretary, Princess Korede Giwa said going forward, Taskforce Team would aggressively monitor the activities of sand miners with a view to enforcing operational ethics and protocols in order to protect the environment, lives and properties of the citizens.
The unions leaders appreciated government efforts at curtailing environmental degradation in the state, with a promise to work with government to protect the environment.