By Justina Asishana – Minna
Anyone who engages in illegal mining will face two-year jail term without an option of fine, the federal government has declared.
The Minister of State for Mine and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, stated this during an interaction with some miners in Minna, Niger state.
He said that the government will no longer condone illegal mining which, he said, is causing security and environmental threats in some states.
He said that the federal government is planning to formalise the artisan miners.
“We are trying to phase out illegal mining, to grow our mining sector by leveraging on the mandate of the president to diversify the economy and stopover realize oil to fight unemployment.
” We are proposing a law criminalizing illegal mining in Nigeria which will include mining without permission, miners who get licensed to mine gold but got diamond and still went ahead to mine such would also be term illegal and there would be a punishment of a minimum of two years jail term without an option of fine,” he stressed.
Ogah stated that state governments need to show political will in eradicating illegal mining adding that they need to be firm in their decision of stamping out illegal mining.
He urged the miners to be peaceful with the host community and give royalty as at when due.
“Ensure that each family that owns the mining site gives their consent which gave miners the right of exploration. The community development agreement is key and must be signed by all concerned parties.
Local community liaison officer must ensure you follow what is in the agreement which helps in protecting miners investment and the community,” he advised.
The miners complained over the security situation in the state, saying it has limited their activities.