April 21, 2024


Barely hours after the Baale of Ilua in Saki West Local Government Area of the state, Chief Kilani Omofoyewa Ajani, was suspended by the Oyo State Government, investigations have unearthed the reasons behind the suspension.


Informed sources revealed that like the case of the suspended Onido of Ido, the Baale Ilua has also been caught up in the new anti-illegal mining web in the state.


It will be recalled that the state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, signed an Executive Order on the protection of mining communities from insecurity in 2023.


According to the source, who spoke on a condition of anonymity, Baale Ajani has been embattled for some time because the Oyo State Mineral Development Agency has been on his case over what it described as activities amounting to economic sabotage and causing insecurity in Ilua/Gbepakan Communities.


The Baale was accused of unlawfully signing consent letters to miners in Gbepakan Community, which he is not legally allowed to do, because the community has a substantive Baale.


Under the Minerals and Mining Regulations Act 2007, only the Baale of a host community where solid minerals are found is empowered to sign consent letters to mining companies.


But despite Gbepakan having a Baale, the Baale Ilua was alleged to be the one signing consent letters, the source noted.


Investigations showed that the Okere of Saki as well several individuals in the Local Government have petitioned Baale Ajani over his activities, which were allegedly said to have caused unrest and political strife in the communities.


Findings further showed that the embattled Baale made attempts to clear himself of all allegations, stating that he had always been a law-abiding citizen and that the allegations against him were without basis.


“But despite his effort to dispel the allegations, illegal mining activities have continued unabated in Gbepakan and they are allegedly at the instance of the Baale, because he signed away all the consent letters though Gbepakan has a Baale that should have been the one signing such letters.


“It was when the matters got to a head that the Oyo State Solid Mineral Development Agency called for the suspension of the Baale this February,” the source said.


With the Office of the Attorney-General/Ministry of Justice recommending Baale’s suspension and the recommendation being approved by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, the source added that the embattled Baale would remain suspended until investigations into the allegations against him are concluded.

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