By Richard Akintade, Osogbo
Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Timothy Owoeye, said that the state would enact a law that would protect the interest of communities where mining activities were taking place in the state.
Owoeye spoke on the sidelines of the plenary session held with Segilola Resource Limited, a mining company that is about to commence operation in Odo-Ijesha, Iperindo and Imogbara communities in Atakumosa East Local Government Area of Osun.
The speaker explained that the purpose of summoning the mining company was to resolve the grievances their host communities were having with them in terms of compensation for their land, which had been taken over for their mining activities.
“It is one of the primary functions of the legislative arm to intervene in any activity within its jurisdiction and I want to tell the good people of the state that the existence and investment of Segilola Resource Limited is good for the state.
“When we noticed a problem between the company and their host communities, after we received a petition from the host communities, the house quickly intervened.
“We noticed that the host communities felt cheated on the issue of compensation from the company in terms of what the company is trying to do in return for the host communities.
“We have appealed to the communities to remain calm and also for the company to come up with encouraging compensation for the people.
“We discover that there is a lacuna between the federal and the state laws, because the law of the land stipulates that the Federal Government has exclusive power, in terms of mining, not putting into consideration the state that would host whoever that want to invest in mining.
“Investors rely on Federal Act on mining and this has not paid any good to the state because when investors does not give compensation, it does not add any value to our state.
“The assembly will, however, come up with a law that will regulate the activities of miners in the state and at the same time, encourage investors to come to the state for business, because Osun is a peaceful state.” he said
Earlier, during the plenary, Mr Austin Minegbo, the Resource Manager of Segilola Resource Limited, who led other members of his company to the assembly, told the state lawmakers that proper mining activities had yet to start, that it was site construction that was ongoing on the land.
Minegbo explained that the survey and mapping of the area the mining operations would take place had been carried out between July 2019 and January 2020.
He said a “community development agreement” was also entered into with their host communities were modalities, benefits and welfare of host communities were fashioned out.
Mrs Madhurii Sarkar-Amoda, the company’s Community Development and Stakeholders Manager, further stated that 212 land owners and 790 asset owners connected to the mining lands had been identified and compensation for their property had been worked out.
She said scholarship for vulnerable in the host communities, programmes for project affected persons, donation of food items to the vulnerable during COVID-19 lockdown, livelihood restoration plan and other incentives were done and put in place to compensate and help the people of their host communities.
Mr Adeyanju Binuyo, the Osun Deputy Chief of Staff, who accompany Segilola Resource Limited to the Assembly, as the state government representative, explained that the company followed all due process in their operation, and we’re certified by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and Federal Ministry of Environment.
Binuyo, however, posited that the state Assembly should set up rules of engagement by companies that would be operating mining activities in the state, stating that the Assembly needed to interface with the federal government in the interest of the state and people of mining communities.