Challenges to the Development of Agrarian and Mining Communities in Nigeria


Location: Igbojaye lies within latitudes 8° 20’ 0 N and 8° 20’45 N, and longitudes 3° 14’ 20 E and, 3° 15’ 20 E. It is one of the many settlements in the Itesiwaju Local Government Area (LGA). Collectively with nine other LGAs: Saki East, Saki West, Atisbo, Kajola, Itseyin, Iwajowa, Irepo, Irelope and Olorunsogo. Together, they are referred to as Oke Ogun in Oyo State. The exact population of Igbojaye is not known, but Itesiwaju LGA had an estimated population of 128,652 at the 2006 census.

Environment: The general vegetation of the study area is Guinea Savanna. The landscape is characterized by sparse trees of the hardwood species, among which are Pakia biglobosa, Afzelia Africana, Magnifera indica, Azadirachta indica, and some economically important trees like, Anacardium occidentale and Vitellaria paradoxa. Rainfall ranges between 1200 mm to 1500 mm from May to September. Since pre-colonial times, the well aerated but dry soil has been providing the communities and neighbouring cities with yams, cassava, tobacco maize and sorghum production. The soil is weathered from the basement complex that characterizes this region with the proliferation of pegmatite belts. This is the reason why the study area is rich in gemstones such as tourmaline, beryl, spodumene (lithium ore) and tantalite.

Igbojaye mining sites: The mining sites in Igbojaiye are Balogun Ojo, Budo Are and Budo Fulani. During the visits to the mining communities, transect walks were carried out within the communities by the team. At Komu-Igbojaye-Babaode in Oyo State, the Space Application and Environmental Laboratory, Obafemi Awolowo University (SPAEL) team hired from Obafemi Awolowo University flew a drone. In the course of the drone flights, the children and residents were attracted. The shouts and screams of excitement that came from the children whenever the drone was spotted in the sky brought out the community to watch the drone flying. After a few flights had been taken, the village’s local musicians came to entertain the team and the crowd that had gathered.

The artisanal miners use axes, diggers and shovels to break and pack the soil mixtures. At times head pans or water pumps are used to drain water out of the pits. The job of searching for these gemstones is not only for the men and youths in these communities; the women and children are also part of it. After digging, since the gems are concentrated in a layer of a coarse mixture of clay and fine sand, the mixtures are packed into bags or headpans for washing in the streams or rivers within the community, which further pollutes the water bodies. The washed and dried gems (like gold, tourmaline, lithium ore, beryl and tantalite) are then taken to a buyer who sits at a shed with a digital scale to weigh the gems and estimate their value before payment is made to the miner.


Location: Itagunmodi community (Latitudes 7°13’26” and 7°48’28” N and longitudes 3°52’ 0”and 4°47’59” E) is known for being the most popular gold mining location in Atakumosa West Local Government Area of Osun State, Southwestern Nigeria. As for Igbojaye, its exact population is unknown, but Atakunmosa LGA had an estimated population of 68,643 at the 2006 census.

Environment: The community is located in the rainforest ecology and consequently enjoys abundance of rainfall from March to October and dry spells from November to February, with a temperature range of 27-32C. The community is inhabited by the Yoruba ethnic group that engage primarily in peasant farming of mainly cocoa and plantain.

Itagunmodi mining sites: Though famous for its gold, talcum and topaz mineral deposits, Itagunmodi community suffers from constraints caused by underdevelopment and poverty due to the mining activities carried out within her boundaries. The artisanal mining activities within this community has led to destruction of farm plantations, buildup of gorges in the farmlands and accumulation of stagnant water in dug pits.

Massive deforestation often takes place in areas where there is exploitations of minerals. Within tropical forest, the practice of open-pit mining has led to removal of indigenous vegetation and cultivated trees found within the mapped areas. Unfortunately, the open-pits are not covered after exploitation and have become dangerous to farmers in navigating their ways within their farms.

The processing of the mineral deposits found by the artisanal miners involves washing in streams and rivers located around the mining sites. As a result, the water bodies get contaminated, leading to scarcity of water for drinking and domestic uses within the area and consequently poses a great challenge to the health of the dwellers of the community.

Research findings


  • Mining is carried out on agricultural lands and youth, women and children are also involved.
  • Youth and women are not involved in decision-making in agrarian communities.
  • Benefit-sharing mechanisms are either non-existent or frustrated.
  • There is no clear delineation of mining areas nor a concerted effort to mitigate the associated negative impact through consensus planning.


  • The community still engage in the traditional form of land ownership, the farmers are small landholders.
  • Most members complain that mining activities are destroying their lands.
  • The business climate is fairly good for business.
  • The value obtained for the water pH was 6:6 – 7:5, which is slightly acidic.
  • The well and mining sites surface possess high sulphur values while the nitrate value was low and below the water quality standard.
  • The soil had a low Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) with potassium being the least.
  • The Carbon:Nitrogen ratio was 20:1, while the standard is 13:1, showing that the soil is infertile and unproductive.