Friday, July 12, 2024

FG deploys 350 additional mine marshals to tackle illegal mining

He noted that the move was a demonstration of government’s determination to sanitise the mining sector.

• June 14, 2024
marshals [Credit: NAN]

The federal government has inaugurated 350 additional mine marshals as part of its efforts to address insecurity in mining environments across the country.

The minister of solid minerals development, Dele Alake, inaugurated the operatives at the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Headquarters on Friday in Abuja.

Represented by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Mary Ogbe, the minister said that the marshals were to checkmate the activities of illegal miners and defaulters of the nation’s mining laws.

He noted that the move was a demonstration of government’s determination to sanitise the mining sector.

The federal government on March 21, inaugurated 2,220 mine marshals, who were specially trained as a Rapid Response Squad and deployed across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

This puts the total number of mine marshals in the country at 2,570.

Mr Alake said that the initiative was yielding the desired results, as more than 200 suspects have been arrested, 133 are being prosecuted, and two foreigners have been convicted for illegal operations.

He maintained that the mine marshals had recorded significant success, particularly in reducing illegal mineral haulage and the activities of unlicensed operators nationwide.

“Today’s Passing Out Parade of the second batch will further increase our numbers, ensuring wider coverage and enhancing the operational effectiveness of the squad.

“As we integrate and improve collaboration between mining marshals and Federal Mines Officers across the country, we aim to intensify sector sanitisation and boost investor confidence.

“This will lead to increased investments and development in the mining industry,” he said.

The minister appreciated his interior ministry counterpart, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, and the NSCDC for their collaboration towards combating illegal mining in the country.

In his remarks, Dr Ahmed Audi, the Commandant-General of NSCDC, said that the new operatives completed an intensive eight-week training aimed at intensifying efforts to neutralise the operations of illegal miners nationwide.

On his part, Mr Tunji-Ojo emphasised the need for continuous training and deployment of the marshals to ensure comprehensive coverage of Nigeria’s vast mining areas.

He added that the move would also help the country to maximise the benefits derivable from the solid minerals sector to boost its economic profile.

“This is the second batch; we have more personnel on the ground; we must continue training and deploying to protect our mining areas and ensure our nation reaps the full benefits of its solid minerals for economic development,” Mr Tunji-Ojo said.


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