The Arrest Of Foreign Illegal Miners: Stakeholders Call For Stronger Regulation Of The Solid Mineral Sector

By Lazarus Zakaa, Abuja

The Federation of Nigerian Mining Host Communities, Miners Association of Nigeria and the
Civil Society Coalition on Nigeria’s Mining Sector, has commend the Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, in sanitizing the mining industry in Nigeria.

This willingness was particularly
demonstrated on May 2020, 3 separate sets of arrests were made of illegal aliens (particularly Chinese and Ghanaian miners) who have been mining without due authorization in Nigeria.

In the a statement released by the the association and severely Civil Society Group said, “We also note and applaud the improved cooperation between the Ministry and security forces across the country.

“However, since these arrests which were made through the combined efforts of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the Nigeria Police Force, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps a month ago, the apprehended suspects are yet to be arraigned before a competent court of law.

“There has also been no official statement by the Ministry
highlighting their next steps towards ensuring preventive oversight and regulation of the

“It is clear to all that the mining sector possesses inherent potential to substantially improve
Nigerian economy.

“However, the sector suffers from revenue leakages due to failure to
strengthen its regulation, and decades long failure to tackle the lack of transparency and
accountability, thereby inhibiting its inability to adequately contribute to the country’s economy.

” In addition, the environmental degradation, loss of water bodies and insecurity suffered by mining host communities are in no way commensurate to the volume of mining that has been accounted for in the country.

“The actions of illegal and unregulated miners are
contributory to these many challenges that impede the growth of the solid mineral sector.

“Our fear at this time is that the impunity that has been so pervasive in other sectors of Nigeria might again truncate the steady progress being made by the Ministry of Mines and Steel, and set the country back at a time when the growth of the solid mineral sector is critical to its economic stability.

“As we all know, the time tested adage ‘justice delayed, is
justice denied’ is true.

“It is against this backdrop the Federation of Nigerian Mining Host Communities, Miners Association of Nigeria and Civil Society Coalition on Nigeria’s Mining Sector make a call for the following:

1. The immediate arraignment of the apprehended illegal miners before a competent
court of law.

2. The resuscitation of the Mining Industry Strategy Team (MIST) constituted by the office of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development to monitor and advise on the implementation of the Minerals and Mining Roadmap.

3. Increased surveillance of mineral rich communities across Nigeria to prevent unregulated mining, and incentivizing host communities to report irregular activities.

4. The incentivizing of the formation of mining cooperatives by artisanal miners regulations of the solid mineral sector to ensure that it contributes adequately to the country’s economy.

5. The increased monitoring of the activities of foreign mining companies in the solid
mineral sectors.

Signed on behalf of Federation of Nigerian Mining Host Communities and Civil Society Coalition on Nigeria’s Mining Sector:

1. Federation of Mining Host Communities of Nigeria
2. Miners Association of Nigeria
3. Nigeria Chambers of Mines
4. Global Rights
5. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
6. Women in Mining
7. Centre LSD
8. Center for Community Excellence (CENCEX), Zamfara
9. Community Enlightenment & Development Initiative (CEDI), Zamfara
10. Connected Development (CODE)
11. Publish What You Pay
12. Silverchip Fox
13. CSR-In-Action
14. Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD)
15. Third Eye
16. Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria
17. Neighbourhood Environment Watch Foundation
18. Stephanie Peacebuilding and Development Foundation
19. Methodist Care and Development Trust
20. New Generation and Social Development Initiative
21. Initiative for Participation, Accountability and Inclusive Development

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