The Federal Government issued a stern caution on Thursday against engaging in unlawful mining activities and emphasized the importance of collaborating effectively with relevant stakeholders to ensure sustainable development throughout the nation.
Dr. Mary Ogbe, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, conveyed this warning while inaugurating the new National Executive Council of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Abuja.
Ogbe also expressed concern about domestic industries that continue to rely on imported minerals as their primary raw materials, despite the existence of these minerals within the country.
She noted that certain minerals are being exported in their raw form to Asian and European countries at significantly lower prices, resulting in minimal value addition. This practice, she emphasized, has contributed to unemployment and has hindered both sustainable development and revenue generation within the nation.
In her words, “I take this opportunity to bring to your attention the disheartening practices of some members within your association who are interfering with the mandates of the ministry. Some members of your association are opting for illegal mining activities rather than collaborating as partners in progress to advance the sector. This behavior has obstructed the sustainable growth of the sector and has resulted in significant revenue losses.”
Ogbe urged the association’s leadership to advise its members against engaging in illicit mining activities and encouraged them to work closely with the ministry to ensure that all activities adhere to the stipulations of the laws regulating the sector.
Mr. Okhuoya Sunday, Deputy Director of the Mines Inspectorate within the ministry, represented Ogbe during the event.
Alhaji Sani Shehu, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT), appealed to governments at all levels to cooperate with MAN to achieve the sector’s objectives. Shehu highlighted the issue of some mining industries being deeply involved in illegal mining and emphasized that government support would be instrumental in curbing this menace.
Shehu also urged MAN to collaborate with the government to effectively sensitize artisanal miners about proper mining practices, ensuring that their operations are in compliance with regulations. He suggested that artisanal miners could form small-scale cooperative licenses to operate legally and enhance their activities.
The newly elected President, Mr. Dele Ayanleke, expressed gratitude for the opportunity given to them and assured them that the new members would fully appreciate this gesture.
In related news, the judge overseeing the pre-trial conditions has issued a stern warning about the potential “consequences” of violating these conditions. Such violations may lead to various legal actions including arrest warrants, revoked release conditions, custody, and charges of contempt of court. The next hearing is scheduled for August 28 at 10:00 local time (15:00 BST) under the oversight of Judge Tanya Chutkan.