Illegal Mining: Kwara North, and other Kwarans must wake up

By Ishowo Olanrewaju

Kwara North, a poverty stricken region, who has done nothing wrong than just lacking the electoral number Kwara Central and South possesses. They are behind in development index, and other critical indices that ensures they are people treated equally along other districts in Kwara. You don’t need to be told, the moment you step foot into that area, the breeze that blows there is different from the rest of Kwara.

Yet, the recent arrests made by the EFCC, seizing four trucks of lithium, one of the most expensive natural resources in the world, if not more than gold puts the region in a more difficult spot and makes them vulnerable to banditry crisis as evident in Zamfara. Four trucks of lithium worths over $65,000, and it was illegally farmed. If illegal people are farming close to ₦100 million naira worth of lithium, how much would it cost to buy arms and distort the peace in Kwara North, a problem we are not and will never be prepared for.

This discovery also brings to the public eye, how those who have been digging and mining legally have not given back to the community where they dig this resources, which is in contradiction of an essential element and agreement that makes one eligible for license. Kwara Northerners and other Kwarans must know that, that area can’t be particularly suffering from unfair political machinations and still not get our sympathy and support in ensuring that resources found under their land is not beneficial to them. Yes, it is state resources, it is Nigeria resources. However, we need to search the hands of traditional rulers and government officials who may be culpable in compromising our future, by gaining undue wealth from unsuspecting public. A new generation of billionaires who may escape scrutiny, and profit from chaos and instability.

This is a call to action for the future. If four tucks load of lithium has been mined from Kwara North illegally, one can only imagine how many trucks had successfully evaded security checks or discovery. Before they destabilise this state, and before Kwara North becomes a hot region for occupants and visitors, we must increase advocacy, bearing in mind the natural disasters unethical mining can do to even climate change.

This is a call to local community, traditional leaders, officials of government who can still afford something good and possess conscience. Let us pay attention today to save the future.

Ishowo Olanrewaju

Public Affairs Analyst and an Advocate of Good Governance