FG Warns Against Illegal Mining
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian government has warned against illegal mining activities and urged for strong collaboration with relevant stakeholders for sustainable development across the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mrs Mary Ogbe, gave the warning while inaugurating the new National Executive Council of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Abuja.
Mrs Ogbe also expressed concerns over local industries which depend on imported minerals for production despite having such minerals in the country.
She said that some minerals were exported raw to Asian and European countries at ridiculous prices without value, adding that such practice has added to the unemployment rate in the country.
She said that such practice has also hindered sustainable development and constituted a loss of revenue in the country.
According to her, “I seize this opportunity to draw your attention to disheartening practices of some members of your association who interfere with the mandates of the ministry.
“Some of your members prefer to indulge in illegal mining activities instead of being partners in progress to develop the sector.
“This attitude has hindered the sustainable development of the sector and constituted huge revenue losses.
“I urge the leadership of your association to advise its members to shun illegal mining activities.
“Your members should always collaborate with the ministry to ensure that activities are carried out in line with the provisions of the laws regulating the sector,” she said.
Mrs Ogbe was represented by Mr Okhuoya Sunday, Deputy Director, Mines Inspectorate of the ministry.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT), Mr Sani Shehu, earlier called on governments of all levels to work with miners to enable Nigeria to achieve the objectives of the sector.
Mr Shehu said that some mining industries were seriously engaged in illegal mining, adding that the government’s support would help to curb the menace.
He also called on MAN to support the government in effective sensitisation of mining activities to artisanal miners to ensure that their operation is covered.
According to him, artisanal miners can form a small-scale cooperative license so that they can operate legally and enhance their activities.
The chairman urged the new electorate to behave well and vote for the candidates of their choice.
He, therefore, dissolved the existing executive council and called for immediate replacement of the structure through the election that took place respectively.
The Chief Superintendent, Import and Export Unit, Tariff and Trade Department, Nigeria Customs Service, Mrs Chibuzo Oguche, said that the service was ready to collaborate with the miners association.
Mrs Oguche said that the collaboration would enable the service to track those miners that engage in illegal activities across the country.
“We are looking forward to a good synergy between MAN and customs because, by the time we get to the database of registered miners, we will be able to track those illegal miners.”
The newly elected President, Mr Dele Ayanleke, thanked the association for the opportunity given to them, adding that the new members would not take the gesture for granted.
The association inaugurated a new eight-man member of the Miners Association of Nigeria and dissolved the old executives who had served for four years.