FG Lacks Resources To Prevent Illegal Mining – Minister
The Federal government says it lacks the resources to prevent all illegal minerals mining activities because the country is vast.
The Minister of Mine and Steel Development, Lekan Adegbite, stated this in an interview on Arise Tv on Tuesday.
He said though the country cannot forestall illegal mining operators, those caught will be dealt with according to the law.
Adegbite said the federal government had begun to organise the so-called illegal miners into cooperatives in order to ensure thorough monitoring, and that a large number of foreign nationals were being arrested and prosecuted for breaking the law.
“illegal mining, that’s a problem because Nigeria is a very vast country. I must admit to you that we do not have the resources to preempt all these illegal activities because Nigeria is vast, ” he said.
“But we react to it very well, because we have been monitoring the locals, through the states and all that, and the security guys are aiding us. We’ve arrested a lot of these nationals that you mentioned, and we have prosecuted them.
“We are working with agencies like customs and immigration. We’re working with them to tighten the noose. We are saying don’t let these illegal people come in in the first place. But wherever we are alerted to the activities, we are left with the responsibility and we have got the support of security services.
“I sincerely admit that we have some illegality all over the place because Nigeria is a vast place and I cannot come out and tell you that yes, we have the resources to preempt this because we can’t be everywhere at the same time. No, it’s not possible.”
Adegbite also revealed that the ministry now has a satellite monitoring system that is closely monitoring illegal activities.
The minister stated that artisanal mining is a significant activity in Nigeria and, as such, is not illegal; he also stated that the government has not made it illegal because many of those involved use the proceeds to feed their families.
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