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Friday, August 12, 2022

Osun river contamination: Concerned group frowns at alleged neglect by govt




An Osun-based organisation, Urban Alert has frowned at the state government for allegedly paying lip service to the issue of contamination of the Osun River.

The organisation said it was shocking to see the Osun State Government issuing an impromptu warning to tourists and traditionalists, against drinking from the Osun River on the eve of the Osun Osogbo festival.

In a press release signed by Oluwatosin Olanrewaju, the group’s Communication Officer, on Friday in Osogbo alleged that the state government also neglected other water bodies polluted by gold mining activities in the state.

The press statement said, “For more than a year, the uncertainties surrounding the change in colour of the 213km iconic 

Osun River have faded, with the deployment of science and technology to unravel the puzzle and bring facts to the tables 

of all stakeholders.

“Urban Alert expresses its dissatisfaction over the initial denial of the Osun State Government on the harmful elements 

uncovered by the organization and the response of the government to the life-threatening issue.”

While noting that it has been scientifically confirmed that the Osun River has been heavily contaminated with mercury, 

lead and cyanide by the illegal and unregulated licensed gold miners operating in the state, Urban Alert added that 

independent investigations have shown that arsenic, iron and nickel have also contaminated the Osun River at a level 

harmful to man and livestock.

“Despite vigorous engagements with the Federal Government, the Osun State Government and other stakeholders, nothing 

significant has been see
n/;;+/ to have been done to avert the impact of the contamination.

“Having informed the Osun State Government and all appropriate organs of the Federal Government of the deleterious effect 

of the Osun River contamination, no serious step has been taken for the safety of the affected communities and the Osun 

Osogbo Sacred Grove which sits on the bank of the Osun River.”

It alleged that response of the state government and many federal agencies to the poisoned river has been lukewarm and 

lacked the determination needed to address the issue of illegal and unregulated licensed gold mining that has not only 

degraded the environment but has contaminated water bodies and desecrated sacred grounds.

Urban Alert also alleged that the inaction of the Osun Government, and its lack of commitment to the safety of over 2 

million residents of the affected communities, traditionalists and tourists at the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove (UNESCO World 

Heritage Site), is a clear indication that the safety of the people and access to safe water is not a priority to the 

state government.

While noting its disappointment at the attitude of the governments in addressing the contamination of the river, it warned 

that the lives of the traditionalists, tourists and residents of the state and beyond will continue to get exposed to 

toxic elements through the Osun River, if the polluters are not held responsible and the extant laws governing mining and 

the environment not activated. Dailypost

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