Expresses readiness to support FG sanitise sector

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, Sunday, threw its weight behind the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development’s proposed special court to try illegal miners operating in the mining sector.

This was made known by the National President, MAN, Kabir Kankara, while in a telephone chat with Vanguard following the arrest of 19 illegal Chinese miners in Osun and Zamfara States by the Nigerian Police Force and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and as Ministry of Mines and Steel Development moves to prosecute them soon.

Kankara said the court will go a long way to weed out illegal mining activities and save millions of dollars for the nation, which is lost through smuggling.

READ ALSO: 19 illegal Chinese miners ‘ll be prosecuted according to Mining Act — Adegbite

He said: “I am in complete agreement with the proposal by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, for the Federal Government to set up a special court to try and prosecute illegal miners, be those foreigners or Nigerians.

“This will go a long way into sanitizing the activity of illegal mining and making the government know exactly who is into active mining and where their locations are.

“It will reduce and discourage touting and connivance from our Nigerian indigenous people who collaborate with foreigners to loot our resources and siphon them to the world market with no benefits to the economy of the country.”

Meanwhile, he said the association has made its stand known over official registration and documentation of potential miners or investors that want to do business in the sector, which will make their operation formal and recognized according to the Mining Act 2007.

“It has always been the stand of MAN that everyone who wishes to engage in mining in Nigeria must be made to register with the association, just like what it partakes in other countries. Because registering with the association will help the government to collate data of miners in terms of numbers and locations of activities. It will also ensure proper collection of all revenues due to the government”, he said.

However, the miners’ boss said the Nigerian Immigration Service has a herculean task to control the inflow of foreigners into the country, which needs assistance from sister agencies and Nigerians also.

“The Nigerian Immigration Service has a big role to play in controlling the inflow of these foreigners but I believe the Immigration service cannot do it alone because there can be a situation where a foreigner like Chinese man may come into the country legally with valid documents but he may be engaged into illegal mining without proper mining documents or authorization which at times the immigration may not be privy to that information of shady activities.

READ ALSO: 19 illegal Chinese miners ‘ll be prosecuted according to Mining Act — Adegbite

“Also the immigration personnel should have a capacity building in how to identify an illegal mining activity of foreigners through the identification of genuine mining licenses and leases.

“So the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development through its Mining officers in the various states should be strengthened and empowered to be more proactive in making sure that only legally authorized people practice mining in any part of the country”, he said.

He also maintained that his association will always be in the vanguard of reducing illegal mining because it cannot condone it if the government collaborates with them.

“Lastly, as I said earlier, our association is very much willing and in fact, in a very good position to help in reducing illegal mining in the country if the government collaborates with us by ensuring that no miner is allowed to start his activities without coming to register with the association”, he added.

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