The Nigerian Ministry of Solid Minerals Development has issued a stern warning to foreign entities involved in the sponsorship of banditry to facilitate illegal mining operations in the country.
The cautionary message came through a statement released by the ministry’s Head of Press & Public Relations, Alaba Balogun, on Friday.
Federal minister warns foreign sponsors
The warning was conveyed by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Oladele Alake, during a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja by a delegation from the Nigeria-China Chamber of Mines, led by its National President, Dr. Olugbenga Ajala.
Dr. Alake was quoted as saying, “The government will come down firmly on these unscrupulous foreign operators sponsoring banditry to perpetrate illegal mining: let me use this medium to appeal through you to tell those sponsors to desist or face the full wrath of the law.”
The Minister emphasized the Ministry’s commitment to establishing a multi-agency task force dedicated to putting an end to the activities of illegal miners and those who collaborate with them.
He reiterated that the government has granted illegal miners a 30-day grace period to formalize their operations if they wish to continue in the mining sector.
This measure, according to Dr. Alake, aims to “streamline and structure the Small-Scale Artisanal Miners for maximum yield to the Federal Government.”