Dele Alake, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, has issued a stern ultimatum to all miners engaged in illegal mineral extraction in Nigeria.
During a world press conference held in Abuja on Sunday, the minister gave illegal miners a 30-day grace period to join established mining cooperatives or face the full force of the law.
Minister Dele Alake expressed his concern that Nigeria, a country rich in precious minerals such as gold, bitumen, lithium, and uranium, has failed to effectively harness these resources for the benefit of its citizens.
He emphasized that the time has come for illegal mining activities to be halted and for the sector to be properly regulated.
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“I am giving illegal miners in this country just 30 days’ grace to join cooperatives or find another vocation,” Minister Alake declared.
“On the expiration of the period, the full weight of the law will fall on anyone seen on a mining site without a determinable status. This message will be interpreted into Nigerian languages and broadcast on the radio to ensure no one is ignorant of this directive.”
As part of the government’s efforts to enforce mining regulations, Minister Alake announced plans to establish a surveillance task force.
This task force will include members of the Nigeria Police and other relevant security agencies to secure mining sites across the country. The goal is to proactively address illegal mining activities and ensure that mining laws are strictly enforced.
“From October, a rejuvenated security regime will become active in the solid minerals sector,” Minister Alake stated.
“This will include the Mine Police, sourced from the Nigeria Police and specially trained to detect illegal mining and apprehend offenders. The new Mines Surveillance Security Task Force will coordinate the Mines Police and proactively address high-risk incidences of breach of Mining Laws.”
The minister also emphasized the importance of prosecuting cases against illegal miners in competent courts, encouraging both federal and state governments to allocate the responsibility appropriately.