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Over 10m Nigerians Involved In Illegal Mining – FG

The minister of mines and steel development, Dr Kayode Fayemi has lamented that as many as between six and 10 million Nigerians are involved in illegal mining across the nation. The minister stated this while fielding questions from journalists during his inspection visit to Muye Village, in Kafinkoro district of Paikoro local government area of…

Gov-Kayode-Fayemi-of-Ekiti-state

The minister of mines and steel development, Dr Kayode Fayemi has lamented that as many as between six and 10 million Nigerians are involved in illegal mining across the nation.

The minister stated this while fielding questions from journalists during his inspection visit to Muye Village, in Kafinkoro district of Paikoro local government area of Niger State yesterday.

He reiterated the commitment of government to develop a framework that will ensure that perpetrators practise safe mining and ensure that Nigeria remains an investment destination attractive to miners.

LEADERSHIP Weekend findings revealed that four people died while over 10 others were seriously wounded following the collapse of a mango tree tree,

under which illegal miners were digging for gold on  October 23, 2016 in Muye.

Fayemi said: “The truth of the matter is, it is very pervasive and extensive and it is all over the country; the people involved in it may be as many as six to 10 million Nigerians. There is no use utilising a fire brigade approach to put a stop to illegal mining.

“The mercury and cyanide they use in washing the gold dust is a problem because they have long term debilitating effects on the community, particularly the young people.

“So our approach is to find safer mining approaches, provide it to them legitimately, support them with capacity building and access to finance and even make land available to them legitimately, whether small scale license or artisanal mining license, something within the law, so that they practise their profession legitimately, earn a living and become less of a menace to the society”

“Our approach to it is to develop a framework that is not just a law and order framework, because the bulk of the people involved in this are not conscious criminals; they come from within the community and see this as their legitimate land, where they could farm or do anything that they consider their birth right.”

The minister further stated that apart from providing an enabling environment for the miners, the ministry will seek to fulfil the mandate of Mr President: to make mining a job creating and revenue generating vehicle for Nigeria.

“Once we are able to do that, we will also be able to protect the interest of the larger mining operators who have legitimate exploration licences or mining leases that have not been able to use it because artisanal mining /informal miners have invaded their lands,” he said.

One of the miners, Abubakar Mohammed, who claimed to have discovered the gold in the community, said, “I am very happy now that government has come; we will now begin to mine in a better way.

“My challenge is to have a mining lease so that whatever I am doing is legal because security men always come and chase us away; and even from the district level, they have come with policemen and chased us off, insisting we follow the legal procedures.

He, however, lamented the high cost of the lease.

“I do not have the amount required to register a lease, we have heard that for the small scale mining lease we need N250,000 and we do not have that, because we now are just starting.”

He revealed that as a result of the discovery, illegal miners are swarming the place now, saying “some even come from Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Libya and Niger, all for the illegal mining.

“If I get the mining license I will organise our operations to ensure that everybody, especially the youths in the community, benefit, because a majority of the youths are graduates but have no work to do.”

 

Source:Nigerian News from Leadership News

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