Mining: NGO Raises The Alarm Over Contamination Of Osun River

Sodiq Yusuf

A Non-Governmental Organisation, Urban Alert, has alerted residents of the State of Osun on an impeding danger of the ingestion of heavy metals arising from the contamination of the Osun River, due to ongoing mining operations in Ijesaland.

Urban Alert expressed fears that if the situation is not urgently addressed by the relevant authorities, residents of the state may be susceptible to various health issues in no distant time.

The NGO in a notification message posted on some social media platforms on Monday, said despite the setup of the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) by state government eight months ago, Osun river remains polluted and defaced.

Its Team Leader, Toni Adejuwon, said the organisation had taken the Osun river water to award winning researchers in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, for examination. 

According to Adejuwon, the result of the laboratory test showed that the water is highly contaminated with mercury, lead, cyanide, and other harmful microbiological elements.

Urban Alert investigations also revealed that more than 20 communities are faced with the high-level chemical contamination, while the government and other stakeholders have kept mute over the development. 

Adejuwon wrote: “The scary part is that water from the Osun River is used for traditional, domestic and industrial purposes every day. 

“Our study shows that the Osun River is a source of water to a bottling company whose products are consumed by millions in the South-West and a brewery that produces beer consumed by many in the South-West and North-Central. 

“The Osun River also houses water dams owned by the Oyo and Osun State Governments. You may wish to ask yourself if the water is well treated for heavy metals before use by these private and public ventures.

“Even if you are far away in Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos, Kaduna, Niger and Delta, you may not escape the effect of the heavily contaminated Osun River. Are you aware that many sachet water factories are located close to the Osun River? Do you know that mercury, lead and cyanide can find their way into the boreholes of those sachet water factories? 

“Communities, businesses, dams and the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove located at the bank of Osun River are exposed to heavy metals. Refusal to save Osun River now is an invitation to serious health challenges in few years to come.”

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