By Iyabo Adebisi
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite has frowned at illegal mining in the country urging those who engage in the act to desist or face the full wrath of the law.
He stated this in Ibadan while speaking with newsmen at the end of a 3-day retreat with the theme:Strengthening the reforms in the Mineral and Metals sector for enhanced productivity.
Architect Adegbite, who condemned illegal mining in totality said the ministry has mechanism in place across the nation to curb illegal mining.
Architect Adegbite said the retreat was to review the level of implementation of the roadmap for the growth and development of the Nigerian mining industry earlier carried out in 2019 for better performance.
“We can’t be in anybody’s mind.we always have people that are defiant in any society who want to do things that are illegal.
“To do mining legally is so simple, it doesn’t cost so much to get a license,even the beaurocracy is so small. You can do it online.So,you wonder why anybody will go and do it illegally.Having said that,it happens,the ministry has a mechanism in place to detect illegality and once you have done that,we make sure to nib it in the bud.
“we are in constant touch with the community. So,any community where illegality is taking place,those people we interact with them,they are suppose to inform officers in that state. We have FMO,MEC and ESA in the state which interact with locals in the state,once they are informed,they can inform the office and we dislodge them.
“Another way to do that is that our FMO are empowered to go round and all our officers in the state.We have transport for them,they have hiluxes they go round. when they detect such illegality themselves,we dislodge them”.
Finally,we have a satellite program in the ministry, headquarters.Remote sensing which can detect this activity anywhere it is taking place in Nigeria and once we discover them as well, we move in and dislodge them.There is always a time between when they are doing their illegality and when we get to know,we act and put a stop to it.And of course we we always prosecute those arrested to the full extant of the law”.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Deployment,Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade said the retreat was geared to help government fulfill its own mandate and goals as designed in the medium term national development plan.
Mrs Akinlade said the three- day programme provided an opportunity for the ministry to better understand its mandate for effective service delivery across levels of officers the ministry.