Receiving a delegation of the Nigeria-China Chamber of Mines, led by its National President, Dr. Olugbenga Ajala, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Oladele Alake, has announced that the Federal Government will establish a multi- agency task force that would put a stop to the activities of illegal miners and their collaborators.
Illegal miners, it has often been reported, sponsor banditry to divert attention from their nefarious activities in most parts of northern Nigeria. Often, accusing fingers have been pointed in the direction of far East Asian countries, and one in the middle-east which citizens naturalise to be Nigerians.
But Alake said on Friday: ‘’The government will come down firmly on these unscrupulous foreign operators sponsoring banditry to perpetrate illegal mining; let me use this medium to appeal through you, to tell those sponsors to desist or face the full wrath of the law.”
He restated that the government had given illegal miners 30-days grace, stressing that, it was not a punitive measure but a way to formalise and make them legitimate to continue in their trade.
He also explained that the aim was to streamline and structure the small-scale artisanal miners for maximum yield to the Federal Government.
The minister noted that the solid minerals, which Nigeria is endowed with in abundance, will be a resurrection tool to revamp the nation’s economy, just as he affirmed that the present administration is shifting attention from hydro-carbon.
He reiterated that the Ministry has initiated several deliberate policies and programmes, geared towards achieving set objectives for economic prosperity; as outlined in the roadmap that was recently released to the public.
Dr. Alake noted that the establishment of the Solid Minerals Corporation and promotion of public private ventures remained crucial to these objectives, adding that, it would ensure sustainability, increase revenue acruable to government, with a significant contribution to the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He acknowledged the importance of security of investors, which according to him, is crucial to achieving the Ministry’s vision of repositioning and sanitising the minerals sector, for maximum contribution to the nation’s socio-economic development under the present administration’s renewed hope agenda.
Speaking earlier, the National President, Nigeria – China Chamber of Mines, Dr. Olugbenga Ajala, informed the Minister that their visit is to celebrate his appointment as Minister of Solid Minerals Development.
The Association, he stated, has proffered ideas and suggestions to the Ministry; that will advance and grow the sector for socio-economic development of the country.
“Some of which include; improving data synergy between the Mining Cadastral Office and Nigeria Geological Survey Agency”, he urged.
▪︎ Main report by NAN, with additional item by Everyday.ng