Grim Reality Of Illegal Mining Of Solid Minerals Of The Country Came To The Fore At The Senate Yesterday With Disclosure That Nigeria Lost N8trn In Two Years
Senate yesterday disclosed that Nigeria loses a whopping sum of N8 trillion every two years to illegal mining. While condemning the “mindless and unlawful plundering of Nigeria’s solid minerals”, the Red Chamber mandated its Committee on Solid Minerals to holistically investigate the activities of illegal miners in the country, with a view to proffering lasting solutions to the problem.
The Upper Legislative Chamber also urged the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, and other law enforcement agencies to be alive to their responsibilities of stopping illegal mining in the country. It particularly charged the Police to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of illegal mining in the country.
The above disclosure and resolutions in part were sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Duro Faseyi, and entitled: illegal mining of the nation’s solid minerals. Senate further urged the executive at the federal, state and the local government levels to take concrete steps towards ending the illegal mining in Nigeria.
Leading debate on the motion, Faseyi noted that the nation is grappling with the challenging dwindling economy, occasioned by the sudden crash in the global oil price and other internal revenue leakages. In his submissions, Faseyi drew attention of the Senate to the worrisome, unlawful plundering of the nation’s solid minerals sector by local and foreign illegal miners operating in the country.
He claimed that the illegal mining had resulted in the nation’s loss of N8 trillion every two years, lamenting that this had impacted adversely on the already ailing economy. The politician told the Senate that illegal mining was thriving in Nigeria as a result of weak legislations and poor enforcement, saying that the situation had jeopardized the urgent need to diversify the economy from oil to solid minerals sector.
Faseyi argued that as a result of the progressive dwindling oil revenue, diversification of the economy had become imperative to shore up the nation’s earnings, boost the economy and create employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths. He also hinted the Red Chamber that 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 various ailments, especially in the rural areas.
The lawmaker observed that the government appeared to be helpless, without any concrete strategy in place to tackle the problem, which he described as a monumental economic sabotage. Senator Lanre Tejuoso, while contributing, pointed out that the solid minerals sector was not as successful as the petroleum sector in terms of revenue generation because the Federal Government has monopoly of the returns from the sector, unlike the liberality enjoyed by the oil sector in terms of control of its revenue.
He, therefore, suggested that the Senate should make laws to empower state governments to have jurisdiction to control and harness solid minerals for more productive exploitation.
-Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja