Ogun residents lament destruction of houses, health risks over mining operation by Chinese company, Zhong Tai

Wale Adewunmi
Wale Adewunmi
Quarry mining

Residents of Igere in the Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State have lamented how the operation of a quarry by a mining company, Zhong Tai, has led to the destruction of houses and put them at risk of several heart diseases.

In a podcast uploaded by Kara House on Spotify which was shared with our correspondent on Sunday, the residents shared how their houses have been cracked.

They expressed shock because of the vibrating sound that always came anytime the company was blasting rock at the quarry site in the community.

A student of Olabisi Olabanjo University, Feranmi Precious said, “As I was sleeping, the whole house was in shock, I had to run out of my room because it was so scary, I even thought it was an earthquake.

“Some people said it was the process of breaking rock around that Ago area, it has happened twice now. The first time, I was so scared because the whole house shook.”

Iya Afin Anini, a store owner selling groceries who has lived in the community for about 15 years, revealed that the community normally alerted them before any operation but failed to do so for the last operation.

She said, “Even though they alerted us by turning their siren, that always gives us a sign that they want to blast.

“But on a fateful day, I did not notice the alarm—the siren. I just heard a sudden, vibrating sound. I quickly ran outside before I later realised it was from them.”

“I have a GP tank there, the stones they break just came straight and hit it,” said another resident, Emeka.

“If you go to some houses in the community, you will see that the blasting used to cause wall cracks,” Abosede, one of the residents, said.

Giving his expert opinions on the issue, Sidiq Abdullahi, a professor of Environmental Geography analysed how the blasting operation will negatively impact the lives of dwellers in the community.

He said, “All of these are chemical ingredients that can affect human beings and even animals, particularly after rainfall.

“If they have a river and a stream around, maybe as a source of their water, and they continue to consume such water, there will be a lot of health problems for them.

“If you take their water sample from where they are collecting water, most particularly for drinking and cooking, if you test them, you will find out a lot of chemicals.”

Chief Anini Tajudeen, the traditional ruler of the community, accused the company of breaching the major terms of the agreement reached between the parties before the company was allowed to work at the quarry.

He said, “it is the community that gives them the location, but it is the government that gives them the licence.”

“For the road, they are not doing according to our wish. In our agreement, we said they must do it to be motorable from Ago-Iwoye down to Ijebu Ode. But after they said they would do it from Ago-Iwoye to the junction of the quarry here.”

“But they are not implementing the agreement at all because if you look at how the road is, you will see that it is too rough,” he added.

Reacting, Eke, one of the supervisors of the quarry, however, said that the company’s operation in the community did not violate any previous agreement they had with the residents.

He said, “They have discussed amicably, they have agreed on terms, there is no violation, and there are fees (money was paid).”

Quarry ,Mining, Zhong Tai
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