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Tinubu’s government explodes, says powerful Nigerians behind illegal mining and terrorism

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The Federal Government under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has accused powerful Nigerians involved in illegal mining of sponsoring banditry and terrorism in the country.


The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dele Alake stated this Tuesday when he appeared for the 2024 budget defence before the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals.

Alake stated:

“One discovery that we’ve made is that a lot of these insecurities and banditry associated with this sector are sponsored by illegal miners.

“These are not your artisan miners. They’re not the people who pick gold on the ground. These are heavy and powerful individuals in our country. They’re Nigerians and not foreigners.

“Yes, you can see foreigners as symptoms, but they’re not the basics. Nigerians are the powers behind those foreigners that you see on the streets. We’re identifying them and employing various strategies, both kinetic and non-kinetic.

“The non-kinetic with that artisan miners, I gave them an ultimatum that they should form themselves into cooperatives because every Nigerian has a right to life and necessities and if the government cannot provide these necessities, we cannot push them into the bush.”

He said adequate security of mining sites and prospective sites would restore investors’ confidence in the Nigeria’s mining sector.

Alake said the conservative amount of mineral deposits in Nigeria was over $700bn, noting that the country had 44 minerals in high demand, but had outlined seven that were of the highest demand globally.

He said:

“We did make a very appreciable budgetary proposal. But when the envelope came, you understand these things more than us. What we saw in the envelope was quite discouraging. In fact, the figure we were given cannot even engage in one single item on our agenda. And the most important is exploration.

“Without generating geo-scientific data, which we will use in convincing foreign investors, we will just not be doing ourselves justice. We need a lot of funding in exploration and as you have rightly mentioned, it is the business of the government to embark on exploration.

“We cannot leave exploration in the hands of the private sector, because when we do that, they will generate the data and keep half of it to themselves for pecuniary purposes and give us only half and that will not be in our overall economic and security interest in this country. So, it is proper for the government to devote a substantial amount of funding into exploration. And we are asking for a conservative figure of N250 billion for exploration.

“This is because as I said earlier, we have identified 44 minerals but those are the ones identified as of now. And a foreign agency that we signed an MoU with recently did tell us that the conservative estimate of the minerals that we have underground in Nigeria is over $700 billion and they are basing their estimation on the identified minerals alone. Nigeria is such a vast land.

“We have not even explored a quarter of the potential of what we have. Therefore, the entire budget of N24 billion is a non-starter if we are to achieve the stated objectives of the sector. We need nothing less than N250 billion for exploration if we are to achieve the mandate of this sector. The sector should contribute not less than 50 per cent to the nation’s GDP. That N24 billion is a non-starter.”

The chairman of the committee, Gaza Gbefwi, said the solid minerals sector remained the last hope for Nigeria to attain the level of economic diversification required.

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He added that the committee has taken proactive steps to put up motions and bills that would strengthen and reorganise the sector.

“To start with, exploration has never been the business of the investor but the government who carries out the exploration and based on values obtained, engages or attracts the necessary investments. It will shock you to note that the petroleum sector, which is more or less mining and an extractive industry, has earmarked $400 million for frontier exploration as captured by provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), being a percentage of the operating profit of the NNPC.

“When you calculate or convert $400 million, it will give you an idea of what the NNPC is spending on just frontier exploration, which is not its major exploration activity.

“Let me use this medium to call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to rethink and reconsider the paltry sums that were allocated to this sector. We must be careful not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

“We are in a phase of energy transition and solid minerals are the next frontier for industrialization and world development. The House of Representatives will not rest on its ores to form strategic partnerships with the executives, the Minister, and all agencies to make sure we make good on the oath of office we swore to at our respective inaugurations.

“To this end, we have taken proactive steps to put up motions and bills that will strengthen and bring about some reorganisation or restructuring in line with the seven-point agenda of the Minister.”

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