HOW QUARRY OPERATORS ARE THREATENING THE LIVES AND PROPERTIES OF IFE RESIDENTS
Residents of Olopo II in the Ilode area of Ile Ife, Osun State, on Monday engaged quarry operators at a tourmaline mining site in a fight over the effect of explosive materials used to extract the precious stone.
The protesters prevented workers of NASAUDE International Minning Company Limited and Marls Venture from mining activities as early as 8am.
However, the protest degenerated after some members of the community took journalists to the site to show them the level of environmental degradation on the site.
Some of the workers harassed journalists, who attempted to take photographs of the site, and threatened to injure them.
The harassment of journalists, especially a reporter of an online medium, Osun Life, Mr. Toba Adedeji, sparked a fight between some of the protesters and the workers.
A 68-year-old man, Mr. Adeniyi Akinola, said he had become partially blind due to the dust usually raised whenever the companies blasted the rock in search of the precious stone.
He said, “I am partially blind now because of dust and pebbles that usually come from the site anytime they blast the rock. I have been battling with eye problem since they started operation.”
The Chairman of Ilopo II community, Mr. Olarotimi Olafare, said the people of the area were not safe due to the dangers they were exposed to as a result of the mining activities of the companies.
Olafare said, “Marls Venture was the first to start mining here. The company came to our area and their officials told us they wanted to start mining precious stone called tourmaline.
“They promised us that they would renovate any building damaged because of mining activities and that they would compensate us, but they have not done anything.
“Whenever they blast the rocks, stones fly inside our houses. The damage that blasting vibration has done to our buildings is massive.”
He said the community had written a protest letter to the Commissioner of Police in the state and had reported the danger to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
He added that the community also reported to the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, but nothing serious had been done.
Efforts to speak to the officials of the companies were unsuccessful, as they said they would not talk to any journalist on the matter.