Home News Powerful Nigerians behind illegal mining, insecurity, Alake alleges

Powerful Nigerians behind illegal mining, insecurity, Alake alleges

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The Minister of Solid Mineral, Dr. Dele Alake has blamed unnamed ‘Powerful Nigerians’ for the illegal mining activities and acts of terrorism going on in different parts of the country.

Alake made the allegation on Tuesday when he led a delegation of top officials of the ministry to defend the 2024, budget estimates before the House of Representatives’ Committee on Solid Minerals at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.

He added that the banditry ongoing in the land may have a foreign component but noted that the major sponsors are Nigerians yet to be identified.

“Nigerians are those powerful people behind them (illegal miners); we are identifying them with both kinetic and non-kinetic means. The insecurity in the mining areas is sponsored by illegal mines and these are powerful individuals in the society who are Nigerians,” he said.

He added that for mining to generate sufficient revenue, there was a need to have a formal structure that the multinational could deal with, just like the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd.

He, however, said that the approach of the ministry under his leadership would be different from NNPCL, adding that the structure being proposed for Nigeria Mining Cooperation would be largely private sector-driven.

He added that “Nigeria will also have its equity, adding that this would mean that no government after could destabilize the structure.

Alake put the conservative worth of minerals deposited in the country at over $700bn dollars, adding that Nigeria was yet to tap commercially into some of its solid minerals demanded globally owing to institutional bottlenecks.

He urged the committee to support the process, adding that this would help change mining in the country.

He also said that the host communities where mining activities take place across the country would be engaged to forestall possible breakdown of laws and orders.

He pleaded with the committee to consider the amount budgeted for the ministry in the 2024 budget proposal.

“What we have is N24bn and this is a non-starter. For this Ministry to contribute at least 50 per cent of the nation’s GDP, we need the sum of N250bn to take care of exploration. If we are given that amount of money, I can tell you that what the ministry will contribute will outweigh other ministries, including what we are deriving from oil.

“We cannot leave exploration in the hands of the private sector. If we do that, they will keep part of the date for pecuniary purposes.

“We can return trillions to the coffers of this country as revenue if we are given such a budget as proposed,” he added.

According to him, the nation has over 44 minerals in high demand with global demand.

The chairman of the committee, Gaza Gbefwi described the solid minerals sector as the last hope in the nation’s quest for the diversification of the economy.

Describing the budget estimates for the ministry as grossly inadequate, the lawmaker pledged the readiness of the committee to work assiduously to assist in drawing more funding to facilitate the realization of Alake’s seven-point agenda.

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