By James Ogunnaike
ABEOKUTA – Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun on Tuesday vowed to deal with illegal miners, who pose threat to the environment through their illegal businesses.
Abiodun who stated this while receiving the Minister of State for Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, who paid him a courtesy call in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, assured the Federal Government of his government support to efforts at stamping out illegal mining in the country.
The Governor, who pledged that the State will key into the non-oil sectors to diversify the economy and increase the revenue potentials of the State, he promised that his administration would cooperate and support miners who operate within the law in the State.
He said his administration would not tolerate miners who degrade the environment.
“We are happy with measures put in place to stamp out illegal mining so that everybody is brought into the tax bracket and ensure that mining is regulated and people mine responsibly and the sites are restored back to how and where they were before so that they will not present difficult situation that affect the environment.
“Ogun is number one in mining industry. We are contributing to the diversification of the non-oil sectors and helping empower and bring out 100 million people out of poverty in the country”, he stated.
Prince Abiodun who appreciated the Minister for the visit, said it would provide the opportunity to collaborate with the Federal government on ways and means of moving the sector up to the benefit of both governments.
Speaking earlier, Dr. Ogah said a law that would deal with illegal miners would soon be put in place, adding that the mining industry was open to those who are willing to opreate within the confines of the law.
“We will stamp out illegal mining in Nigeria. A law will come that will deal with illegal mining. If you are caught doing illegal mining, you will be sent to jail. If you want to mine, get a license, it is very easy, even small scale mining license, we will give it to you.
“You don’t need to go escavating land, creating environmental problems for the entire nation. We want you to come so that as you are mining, we help you to build the environment by rehabilitating the land at the end of the mining”, he explained.
Dr. Ogah said the State as number one in mineral deposit in the country was benefitting from the 13 percent derivation given to solid minerals producing States, calling for more support to the miners operating in the State to continue to create jobs for the people or the State.