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Powerful Nigerians Involved In Illegal Mining, Terrorism – Alake

He said the most disturbing aspect was that most of the foreigners engaged in illegal mining in the country had no proper immigration.


(File) A part of the Illegal mining site sealed by the Enugu State government

 

The Minister of Solid Mineral, Mr Dele Alake, on Tuesday, said some ‘powerful’ Nigerians involved in illegal mining are sponsoring banditry and terrorism in the country.

He stated this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals for the ministry’s 2024 budget defense in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Alake also revealed that foreigners are among those engaging in illegal mining in the country. He called on the Federal Government to pay close attention to the mining sector which would take in trillions for the country annually.

“Nigerians are those powerful people behind them; we are identifying them with both kinetic and non-kinetic means. We have encouraged those petty illegal miners to form cooperatives,” he said.

He said the most disturbing aspect was that most of the foreigners engaged in illegal mining in the country had no proper immigration.

He said for mining to generate the requisite revenue, there was a need to have a formal structure that the multinational could deal with, just like the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

The minister, however, said that the approach of the ministry under his leadership would be different from NNPCL, adding that the structure being proposed for Nigeria Mining Cooperation would be primarily private sector-driven.

He said the conservative amount of minerals deposited in the country is worth more than 700 billion dollars, but the country had yet to access a quarter of the deposit.

Alake urged the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals to support the process, as that would help change mining in the country.

He also said that the host communities where mining activities take place across the country would be engaged to forestall the breakdown of laws and orders.

He pleaded with the committee to consider the amount budgeted for the ministry in the 2024 budget proposal.

“If we are given that amount of money, I can tell you that what the ministry will contribute will outweigh other ministries, including what we are deriving from oil.

“We can return trillions to the coffers of this country as revenue if we are given such a budget as proposed,” he said.

According to him, we have 44 minerals in high demand, but we have six that are in global demand.

He said Nigeria had the potential to become one of the destination hubs of the world’s economy through solid minerals.

He, however, said there was a need to sanitize the operating environment for the investors.

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Gaza Gbefwi, said that the solid minerals sector remained the last hope for the country to attain the level of diversity it required.

He, however, said that the funds appropriated to the sector in the 2024 budget were grossly inadequate.

He added that the committee has taken proactive steps to put up motions and bills to strengthen and reorganize the sector.

Militants have been establishing a presence in northwest and central Nigeria outside their traditional northeast base where they have been waging a more than 13-year-old insurgency.

The bandit militias terrorise local communities where they raid villages, kill and kidnap residents for ransom as well as burn homes after looting them.