The Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) says baning mining activities in the country
will be counterproductive and capable of worsening insecurity.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Dele Ayanleke, the National Secretary of MAN on Saturday in Abuja.
Ayanleke said that placing a ban on mining activities due to insecurity in the country would further explode the labour market and enlarge the reserves for the recruitment of more bandits and criminals in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Federal Government says it is looking at the possibility of banning motorcycles and mining activities as a way of addressing the myriad of security challenges facing the country.
The MAN president said that the ban would ruin the Federal Government’s plan of diversifying the economy through the mining sector.
“Stigmatising an important economic hub such as mining industry and criminalising it as a scape-goat will be counterproductive and we have reasons for this assertion.
“At the inception of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari included in the economic blueprint was an agenda to diversify the economy from Oil and Gas and broaden the economic space using mining and agriculture as pivots,” he said.
He said for the past three years, mining activities had been under ban in Zamfara and Katsina states.
“The victims of the purported ban are the identifiable and traceable owners of the mines with extant mining titles obtained from the appropriate authorities and remitting annual service and royalties to the government’s purse.
” The fact is that the regulatory and security agencies lack both human and logistics capacities to enforce the ban.
“The ban is only succeeding in keeping the legitimate mines owners away from their concessions and declaring the field free for illegal operators to occupy and pillory with the sponsorship of foreign nationals and local chiefs.”
Ayanleke said the purported ban of the gold rich mining fields of Zamfara had been the revenue source fueling the increasing waves of insecurity in the Northwest.
“It is on this note that as partners in the Nigeria project and major industry players, we feel obliged to offer some patriotic tips toward finding solutions to the national security, especially around the mining corridors.
“We encourage our security agencies to up their trade in intelligence policing.
“There are unconfirmed reports from our members in the affected states noticing high level movements into the purported banned minefields, including air movements that are not for surveillance mission.”
He said that security searchlights should be beamed on some high profile personnel in the country.
“The reported dethronement and prosecution of some high ranking traditional rulers in recent times should serve as enough pointer to this piece of advice.
“The policy of 100 per cent ownership of mining assets by foreign nationals should be urgently reviewed.
“Experience has shown that foreigners are the major targets of the kidnappers and their presence in mining locations are major incentives to the increasing rate of kidnappings and killings around mining sites.
“These criminals are always ready to waste as many lives as identified as obstacles to their targets; the Shiroro massacre also comes handy to illustrate this point.”
He said that the rate at which Chinese nationals flood Nigeria’s minefields these days looking for every ounce of lithium mineral “is very alarming”.
“The issue of Chinese hunting for our lithium is an issue for another day, which we intend to take up with the government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
“Without prejudice to the rights and privileges of any national under various bilateral and multilateral treaties and charters to which Nigeria is a signatory, we recommend that the movements of foreign nationals be restricted to urban centres.
“Their movement should be restricted to urban centres in this period of security emergency; partnership with indigenous players should be encouraged and strengthened to oversee their joint investments.
He called on the government and all security agencies to deploy the same security measures being employed in the oil and gas sector to the solid minerals sector to save the industry and its operators.