Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Nigeria, olamilecan adegvitesaid on Tuesday that due to Nigeria’s sheer size, the government cannot stop the activities of illegal miners in the country.
Adegbait revealed this while speaking on the Arise TV morning show on Tuesday.
He explained that the state cannot pre-empt illegal miners, but if they are found they will be dealt with according to the law.
“Illegal mining is a problem because Nigeria is such a vast country. Nigeria is so vast that we must admit that we do not have the resources to anticipate all these illegal activities.
“But we are doing very well with it because we are monitoring locals throughout the state and our guards are helping us,” Adegbait said. .
“We have arrested and prosecuted many of these nationals you mentioned. We are working with agencies like Customs and Immigration.
The minister urged the Nigerian public to support the government in containing the activities of illegal miners.
“Any time we are alerted to an activity, we are accountable and have support from our security services.
“Nigeria is a huge place and we wholeheartedly acknowledge that illegal activity is everywhere. I can’t say, no, it’s not possible,” he said.
Mr Adegbite said the ministry has a satellite monitoring system that closely monitors illegal activities.
He said artisanal mining is a major activity in Nigeria, but the country needs to improve in other areas.
“Yes, they served a purpose. That’s why the government didn’t make it illegal. We don’t want to kick these people out, put them out of work and put their families in trouble,” he said. Told.
The minister explained that Nigeria will not begin to realize the potential of the sector until big companies invest in it, noting that de-risking the sector through intervention efforts to encourage investment could lead to this. did.
He added that having data on where each mineral can be found in the country would make it easier for investors to get involved and help the sector grow and contribute significantly to the gross domestic product.
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“We need to invest…in exploration and data acquisition.
“This data is what draws people to this sector right now. Plus, when we came in, we were doing the oil route again, exporting crude and bringing in refined products. I noticed
“So, after more than two years of initiating the process of engaging stakeholders, today this is official government policy and has been approved by the Federal Executive Board. Without beneficiaries, Nigeria We are no longer able to export raw ore from ,” he said.
Speaking about Ajaokuta Steel Company, Adegbite said the current arrangement is markedly different from concessions made in the past.
The new deal will be based on shares and the process is expected to be completed in March of this year, he said.
“The trading advisor in this case is guiding what the federal government should do properly.
“We don’t want to take a free ride anymore.
“This time we are being guided by experts and they appreciate it because of the inherent value of Ajaokuta, but they say there will be no free lunch this time,” he said. .
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