Dele Alake Threatens Crack Down On Illegal Miners, Gives 30-Day Ultimatum

Dele Alake
Dele Alake

Dele Alake, Minister of Solid Minerals, has given illegal miners a 30-day deadline to join artisanal cooperatives.

Speaking at the unveiling of the ‘Agenda for the Transformation of Solid Minerals for International Competitiveness and Domestic Prosperity’ in Abuja on Sunday, Alake vowed that defaulters would face the full force of the law.

The minister also stated that the ministry is establishing a security tax force and mines police to assist the country in combating illegal mining and smuggling, as well as a comprehensive review of all mining licenses and the establishment of six Mineral Processing Centres to focus on value-added products.

He stated that the ministry will focus on a seven-point agenda, which will include the establishment of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation, joint ventures with mining multinationals, and the collection of big data on specific seven priority minerals and their deposits.

“For the last time, let me declare that the Ministry is giving such persons 30 days grace to join a miners’ co-operative or find another vocation to do. On the expiration of the period, the full weight of the law will fall on anyone seen on a mining site without a determinable status. This message will be interpreted into Nigerian languages and broadcast on the radio to ensure no one is ignorant of this directive.

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“From October, a rejuvenated security regime will become active in the solid minerals sector. This will include the Mine Police, sourced from the Nigeria Police and specially trained to detect illegal mining and apprehend offenders. The new Mines Surveillance Security Task Force will coordinate the Mines Police and proactively address high risk incidences of breach of Mining Laws. The Federal and State governments will also be encouraged to allocate the prosecution of cases against illegal miners to competent courts,” Alake said.

According to him, the ministry will add at least 50% to the Nigerian economy, just as he said the Ministry is poised to attract Foreign Direct Investment.

“President Bola Tinubu has taken firm, courageous decisions that have reset the logic of the Nigerian economy. The removal of subsidy and the adoption of a single exchange rate are among the fundamental transformational policies of this administration. This radical approach to making the economy resilient in the long term is the guiding principle of the management of the Ministry.

“The Ministry has to take the bull by the horns if the country must reap the harvest of the trillion dollars worth of minerals under the ground across the country. To achieve this laudable objective, there has to be a paradigm shift in the strategy by re-positioning the sector in terms of the human and capital factors that can drive its transformation,” he added.

Speaking on creating the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation, the minister said, “Mining is big business. Nigeria must assert its presence in this environment by replicating its strategic positioning in the petroleum sector by setting up a corporate body in this field. Consequently, the Ministry shall work towards incorporating the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation.”