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The Osun State Joint Task Force has arrested 17 Chinese nationals and 10 locals suspected to be illegal miners in the State.Abdullahi Binuyo, the Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Gboyega Oyetola, disclosed this on Sunday in Osogbo.

According to him, the suspects were arrested following a coordinated sting operation in Ilesa and Ife areas of the State.

He said the miners have been polluting Osun River with poisonous metals aside the economic leakages, thereby making it unsafe for human consumption and irrigation.

“We intend to prosecute them and also make sure they pay compensation,” Binuyo said.

He noted that as part of government’s economic reforms, solid mineral is a major sector the State is exploring, adding that for these reforms to work, it was now imperative to stop illegal mining and step up enforcement activities.

The governor’s aide added that “The result is what we are witnessing today.

“These people neither have genuine mining licences nor are they registered with the government.

“What they claim to have is Exploration Licences; that does not permit them to mine the way they are doing.

“So, we will prosecute them and make them pay damages.

“Apart from flouting government’s order to stay at home so as to contain the spread of COVID-19, they have created environmental disaster for us by poisoning our river which is a major public health concern.”

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