The Minister of Mines and Steel, Olamilekan Adegbite, has disclosed that gold is the most struggled mineral out of the country.
He said because gold has immediate value, most people have ventured into smuggling it.
The Minister revealed this on Monday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily.
“The people who smuggle these minerals out of Nigeria, take it through our borders, so part of our proposals is to strengthen the relationship between our ministry and the Ministry of Finance who supervises the Nigerian Customs Service.
“We have caught a few people trying to smuggle out gold because of its immediate value, it is the most smuggled mineral out of Nigeria”.
The minister, who linked part of the illegal mining and smuggling to Chinese personnel who come into the country as construction workers, emphasised the need for synergy between security agencies, especially from the Immigration Service and Customs.
“We are working also with the Ministry of Interior because most of these Chinese people that do illegal mining come into Nigeria through immigration. They have some sort of stay or work permit.
“They come in another guise and they find themselves in mining. So we are working with the Ministry of Interior, Immigration to make sure that there is a monitoring mechanism in place,” he stressed.
He further noted that his ministry is taking a multisectoral approach which has been approved by the ministry’s council.
“We are forming synergy with all these agencies so that we minimise all the loss from illegal smuggling,” he said.
The minister noted the importance of collaboration with these agencies to curb smuggling.
On the issue of Ajaokuta producing 2.2 million tonnes of liquid steel per annum, the minister said that the project is yet to commence.
He explained that President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier met with the Russian Government at the Russian African Summit where he appealed for some expatriates to come and help with the project.