Illegal Mining: Ministry short-staffed, underfunded, says official
The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) has called on the federal government for adequate funds to checkmate illegal mining activities across the country.
Mr Yunusa Muhammed, the Acting Director, Investment, Promotion and Mineral Trade Department, MMSD stated on Sunday in Abuja.
Mr Muhammed said it became necessary for the federal government to increase the ministry’s funds to bridge the gap of insufficient logistics required for checking activities of illegal mining.
Mr Muhammed said more staff, such as mining engineers, geologists among others, are also needed to reach all the hinterland where mining activities are going on across the country.
He said currently, the Federal Mines Officers allocated to each state were grossly inadequate to monitor illegal mining activities in their various states.
“Nigeria is a huge country blessed with minerals in all the 774 local governments and every local government has different minerals.
“We have one federal mines officer in every state managing and checking mining activities, this is grossly inadequate.
“For example a state like Niger that has only one mine officer and attached with a vehicle, how can only him monitor illegal mining activities going on there, that is the reason more staff are needed,” he said.
He advised the government to look into employing N-power graduates into the sector and distribute them to all the 36 states to assist the federal mines officers in those states to curtail illegal mining.
On the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA), he said that the mining sector had keyed into the programme to miximise the benefits and potentials of the project.
“Government is creating enabling atmosphere where private participation will strive, so we are encouraging all different players within the sector to participate and abide by different conditions created by the government to fill vacancies within AFCFTA.
I am chairing the solid mineral sector within the AFCFTA, this project is virgin; it is looking for lots of investors to fill our own quota to be able to capitalise and get everything we need as a country.
“In the committee, we have Miners Association of Nigeria and Women in Mining participating actively, providing assistance needed; we are working on the same page to offer services that will make it easy for their members to key into the framework.”
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