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FG gives illegal miners 30 days to join cooperatives, to establish mine police

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The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, has given all miners engaged in the illegal extraction of mineral resources in the country an ultimatum of 30 days to join notable mining cooperatives or face the full wrath of the law.

This was even as the minister unveiled a plan to set up a surveillance task force that would include policemen and other relevant agencies to secure the mines in the country.

Alake gave the charge at a world press conference held in Abuja on Sunday.

While announcing that the 30-day ultimatum to miners and plan to introduce security operatives were parts of his seven-transformation agenda, the former editor of the defunct Concord Newspaper told newsmen that he was baffled that a country with precious minerals like gold, bitumen, lithium, and uranium in massive proportions could fail to use the resources to liberate its citizens.

He said, “I am giving illegal miners in this country just 30 days grace to join cooperatives or find another vocation. Also, the proposed task force will be domiciled in the ministry and will comprise operatives of all the relevant security agencies.

“For the last time, let me declare again that the ministry is giving such persons 30 days grace to join a miners’ cooperative or find another vocation to do.

“On the expiration of the period, the full weight of the law will fall on anyone seen on a mining site without a determinable status. This message will be interpreted into Nigerian languages and broadcast on the radio to ensure no one is ignorant of this directive.

“From October, a rejuvenated security regime will become active in the solid minerals sector. This will include the Mine Police, sourced from the Nigeria Police and specially trained to detect illegal mining and apprehend offenders. The new Mines Surveillance Security Task Force will coordinate the Mines Police and proactively address high-risk incidences of breaches of Mining Laws. The Federal and State governments will also be encouraged to allocate the prosecution of cases against illegal miners to competent courts.”

In Nigeria, Illegal mining of mineral resources has continued to remain a worrisome trend for the Federal Government and has given Nigerians some level of concern.

On August 3, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Mary Ogbe, raised a similar alarm that illegal mining activities are disrupting the country’s $700 billion industry.

According to her, some of the minerals are often exported raw to Asian and European countries at ridiculous prices without value.

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