By Henry Umoru
THE Senate was told Tuesday that owners of private Jets in the country were responsible for the high cases of illegal smuggling of Gold outside the shores of Nigeria.
Disclosing this yesterday in Abuja at an investigative hearing on $9billion annual loss to illegal mining and smuggling of Gold, organised by Senator Tanko Al- Makura, All Progressives Congress, APC, Nasarawa South led Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines , Steel Development and Metallurgy, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr.Uche Ogah, alleged that owners of private Jets were masterminds of illegal mining in Nigeria as they are collaborators.
Ogar who lamented the rate of illegal mining in the country, said that all efforts to end the menace have failed because according to the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, it has no powers to check private Jets, adding that illegal mining in Nigeria started far back in the early 1980s as a result of the indiginization policy of the military regime in the late 1970s.
Ogah who called for death sentence as punishment for offenders, said, “Gold Smuggling in Nigeria are often done using Private Jets , the very reason Private Jets ownership and operations , need to be streamlined in the country.”