By Gabriel Ewepu
THE Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, has thrown its weight behind the Federal Government in the continued fight to rid the mining sector of illegal mining activities.
This was stated by the National President, MAN, Sani Shehu in a chat with Sweetcrude, while baring his mind over the illicit business some Nigerians and their foreign collaborators perpetrate in the sector, and said has not been wholesome for the development of the sector.
He said: “We are going to see more clampdowns of illegal mining activities by the federal government this year following their arrest and prosecution of local and foreign illegal miners last year. The action is in line with the Mining and Minerals Act.
“We want the government to also apply the carrot and then the stick approach as being taught in management studies. The government has given some sort of intervention which we have seen the MinDiver project, and others for Artisanal and Small scale Miners, ASM, fund in Bank of Industry, BoI, and others.
“Those illegal miners who don’t want to accept these interventions should be arrested if they don’t want to key into government‘s intervention programmes. Now that government has made all these provisions they should take advantage of them.”
Speaking on the prospects of the sector in 2018 the miners’ boss expressed optimism that the country has all it takes to be one of the leading mining destinations in the world based on its abundant mineral resources.
“I see a lot of prospects in the nation’s mining sector following the global recognition and status it has been given, and as a strong emerging mining destination in the world that would also attract investors.”
However, he said the government should provide more cash-backings for the ministry and agencies to smoothly carry out their statutory responsibilities for rapid development and growth of the sector.
“We want to see more cash-backings for the ministry and its agencies so they can perform their statutory functions. When there is enough cash-backing it will aid activities in the sector.
“The sector in 2016 has about 40 per cent of money released and also same in 2017 and that should not be the case in 2018. Now that we are out of economic recession and money generated by the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, and other government agencies the government should do more for the sector in terms of increased funds being made available.
“We are happy with the response from the minister on the complaints we have made concerning not accessing the intervention funds in some development banks. He has asked us to write a proposal to that effect, and soon we will submit it to him.’’