Oyo Govt shuts down factory used for illegal mining of lithium

Oyo State governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Saturday, swooped on a facility being used by suspected illegal miners to process and package lithium out of the state.

The governor ordered the closure of the facility, which was originally a factory meant for recycling batteries and tyres.

He equally ordered the arrest of four persons suspected to be operating at the site, noting that they operated against the approved licence secured from the government for business operations in the state.

Makinde, who was on an unscheduled inspection tour to the factory site at Idi Ayunre, Oluyole Local Government, Ibadan, said that a preliminary investigation revealed that the factory was being operated by some Chinese.

He added that though the Federal Government issued an operational licence to the miners in line with  constitutional provision, there will always be security threats and concerns when states do not have an input in the issuance of mining licences.

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The governor explained that the factory and its operators have contravened the Executive Order 001 of 2024 on the safe handling of harmful substances, noting that the arrested factory workers would be prosecuted accordingly.

The governor also said that the state government would take over the factory facility through a court process, until it gets to the bottom of the matter.

He said: “You can see what is going on here; it is still the same problem – the illegal mining activities.

“Sadly, the folks are even getting bolder. This place, according to records available to us, was meant to be a yard for recycled tyres and batteries. 

“But coming in here, you can see there is no single battery or tyre here. They are crushing lithium here and they had support from all over. 

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“The preliminary investigation indicated that some Chinese are the ones leading this. They also have a lawyer from Katsina. 

“The state government will take over the facility via a court process, as this is a clear violation of the Executive Order that I signed and it is a problem that we have to address. 

“Some four persons have been arrested and they are with the security agencies. The Chinese people have been taken to immigration and, once we are able to find something to prosecute them, then, we will prosecute them. 

“We need to get to the bottom of this but, in the meantime, this facility will be taken over by the government of Oyo State.”

Governor Makinde equally expressed concerns with the retention of mining in the Exclusive Legislative List, stating that there will always be issues of security threats when states do not have input in the issuance of mining licences.

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He added that though Oyo State remained open to investors and will always do everything to make businesses thrive, those businesses must obey local laws and regulations.

“I think it is the same thing about the constitutional provision where they issue licences to miners in Abuja without the state governments having an input. And when you have the fallout, the state will still have to bear the brunt. 

“We will still try to foster cooperation among stakeholders, because we want businesses to thrive in Oyo State but local laws and regulations must be obeyed. 

“We are not asking you not to come to Oyo State but when you come here, you should be able to obey the local laws. That is where we are,” the governor said.


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