The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Senator Tanko Al-Makura, on Friday alleged that some governors were behind the illegal mining of some solid mineral resources in the country.
Some of the solid minerals being illegally mined in different parts of Nigeria include gold, zinc, lead, tantalite, columbite, laterite and others. Adegbite told the Senate committee at an interactive session that the challenge of illegal mining was allegedly being supported by some state governors through the provision of police escort for unlicensed foreign miners in their domains. Although the minister did not specifically mention the governors behind the illegal act, he said they had an “unholy” alliance with some foreign miners who were operating illegally in the country.
Adegbite said, “You will find foreign nationals encouraged by our people. Without naming them, we have some state governments that are encouraging these (foreign) nationals that we are talking about and that is why you see them with security (operatives). “When they send them to go and do this, they need police. What do you expect a mining officer to do when the state government is backing this illegal mining?”
In his response to the issue of some state governors allegedly aiding illegal mining, Al-Makura described such governors as “illegal miners.” He advocated a non-punitive approach to resolving the matter, which both the ministry and the Senate committee agreed was on the exclusive list of the Federal Government restricting the states’ direct development of the mining sector.