Oyo State Government said operators of the illegal mining and gemstone markets discovered in Ibadan claimed to have approvals from the Federal Government.
The Oyo State Governor’s Special Adviser on Security, Fatai Owoseni, disclosed this in an interview with Arise Television on Thursday.
Recall that a recent explosion occurred in Ibadan as a result of explosions in stores by illegal miners.
The security adviser noted that the security agencies and the government could not know of all the happenings in the state if the citizens within the state did not provide credible information to the agencies.
Owoseni said, “For the past two years, the Oyo State governor has been engaging the federal government about mining. We’ve discovered that there is an illegal mining market, a gemstone market in Ibadan around Ojoo populated by foreigners.
“And when you go there that you want to do any operation, either as police or state apparatus, they will show you approval which they have gotten from the federal government.”
Owoseni said that there is a lot of decadence in the mining industry from those who are supposed to be in charge of monitoring miners by conducting checks.
He said, “The conditions are that you must have a magazine, that’s like a storage where you should keep these things,” going on to say that “along the line of maybe lackadaisical attitude, the fellows that will be asked to escort the buyers, the users, they may not do the right thing.
“Some of the people that we apply for those things, the address they indicate is not the address where they’ve taken the things to. Rather than taking them to the magazines or the storage close to the area where they will use it, they will divert these things.”
Owoseni further stated, “The notion that Nigerians and everyone have that the security people must know everything, well, it’s a bit right, but at the same time, wrong.
“The concept and philosophy guiding security work, especially policing, is that the people are the police are the people. Without credible intelligence, the security people would not know anything.
“People don’t give information, intelligence reports. If landlords want to also take undue benefits of, oh, you know these people are doing bad business, and because they pay you a lot of money, you keep your mouth shut. So, this is the kind of thing you have.”
According to Owoseni, if there were reports of such illegal activities in those areas, the government would have acted on it immediately.
He said, “The government won’t know if the people don’t give information. People have come up to say some people said they’ve reported that before. Why is it now that all that information is coming out? That is number one.
“Number two, people that have talked of complicity by government or security agencies, for people that know that location, people who live there, who own houses in that area, know the caliber of people that live there.
“A former deputy governor of Oyo state lives around that place. Some eminent emeritus professors live around that place. So, these are people who cannot just be taken for granted that if such a thing has been reported, it cannot just be wished away.
“They have a very strong Landlord/Resident association. So, all these people that are talking, do they even bring this to the notice of the association? Like I said, when you have such people living in such areas, you can’t take them for granted.”
On the current death toll, Owoseni said, “As of yesterday, the governor indicated we had 3 dead persons, 77 wounded. But this morning, just before we started this interview, the security operatives in that area had just sent me a text to let me know that 2 more dead bodies were recovered this morning.”
The Security adviser said the government has opened avenues for citizens to make credible intelligence reports.
He said, “With the interaction that his excellency Governor Seyi Makinde had had with the Security and the Intelligence Community in Oyo state, we’ve opened avenues, different avenues for people to come up with credible intelligence so that some of these areas can be checked.
“We have what we call citizens inquiry number in Oyo State, it is ‘615’. They don’t need to know you because, through 615, we’ve got information and some other things that happened in the state that the governor had made use of. We’ve been having face-to-face interaction, interface with the community.”