By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
A nongovernmental organization, Women in Mining Nigeria, WIMN, Tuesday, made its position known that alleged refusal to release 17 arrested illegal Chinese miners by the Osun State Government contravenes the 1999 Constitution.
This was stated by the National President, WIMN, Engr Janet Adeyemi while speaking on 1999 Constitutional that empowers the Federal Government to deal with illegalities surrounding solid minerals being on the Exclusive List.
According to Adeyemi Special Purpose Vehicles, SPVs were created to accommodate states because of the agitation, but mining remains the exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government.
She said: “The exclusive right of mining still lies with the Federal Government. SPVs were created to accommodate states because of the agitation but mining is still the exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government.
“The states should not run foul. So the Federal Government can go ahead and sanction whoever is involved in illegal mining. If Osun State does not hand over the Chinese to the Federal Government for prosecution it is them contravening the laws and it could be viewed as sabotage.
“Osun State should not sabotage the effort of the Federal Government by continuing to hold on to the Chinese. They should be handed over to the Federal Government.”
She also made it clear that most illegal foreigners operating in the nation’s mining sector were backed up by powerful politicians and traditional rulers who collaborate with them to steal the nation’s wealth and make the laws guiding the sector of no effect.
“All we have to do is to make a lesson about these ones. Whenever they are caught, they should forfeit everything they have, and during the investigation, we must know their Nigerian collaborators, and whoever they are they must be punished.
“We need to make a scapegoat out of them to serve as a deterrent to others. We really must punish them to deter them”, she stated.
She also narrated her experience while in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, UAE, which according to her a whole market is set up for Gold coming solely from Nigeria.
“I went to Dubai, and there, a whole market is dedicated to Nigerian gold. This gold was smuggled out of Nigeria for a pittance without the payment of royalty and would then be sold at the international market price. It is time to cry out against these.
“I like the way the Minster came to the open and cried out about the illegal Chinese miners”, she said.