The Senate yesterday disclosed that Nigeria loses no less than N4 trillion yearly to the activities of illegal miners in the country.
The Senate, while urging the inspector general of Police, Solomon Arase and other law enforcement agencies to be alive to their responsibility of stopping illegal mining also mandated its committee on Solid Minerals to look into the matter with a view to finding lasting solutions to the problem while condemning the “mindless and unlawful plundering of Nigeria’s solid minerals.”
These were part of resolutions of a motion passed by the Senate during plenary yesterday on illegal mining of Nigeria’s solid minerals sector. The motion was sponsored by Sen Duro Faseyi (PDP, Ekiti).
The federal lawmakers also urged federal, state and local governments to take concrete steps towards ending illegal mining in Nigeria.
Leading debate on the motion, Sen Faseyi noted that the unlawful plundering of the nation’s solid minerals by state and foreign miners was further confirmed by the former permanent secretary of the ministry of Mines and Steel Development during his briefing of President Muhammadu Buhari on the state of the ministry.
“The illegal mining has resulted in the nation’s loss of N8trillion every two years, thus impacting adversely on the nation’s deteriorating economy,” he said, adding that it “thrives because of weak legislation and poor enforcement, thus jeopardising the urgent need to diversify the nation’s deteriorating economy.”
Faseyi noted that the illegal mining has resulted in the devastation and pollution of the environment leading to the death of hundreds of Nigerians with several thousands of others infested with ailments, especially in the northern rural areas.
The lawmaker further stated that if exploited, the mining of the solid minerals legally could boost the economy and create employment opportunities for the nation’s teeming unemployed youths, while lamenting that “the government appears helpless without any concrete strategy in place to tackle this monumental economic sabotage.”
Commenting on the motion, Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, said the government can generate much needed revenue from developing and exploiting the minerals spread across the country.
He also noted that illegal mining poses serious pollution and health challenges to Nigerians, especially because the illegal miners do not follow standards.