Before the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals, Mr. Dele Alake, the Minister of Solid Minerals, claimed that powerful Nigerians involved in illicit mining also provide funds to terrorist organisations and banditry in the nation.
Alake emphasised the link between illicit mining and the funding of violent acts during his appearance for the 2024 budget defence in Abuja on Tuesday. He also emphasised that the perpetrators of these crimes were not just common people taking gold; rather, they were influential Nigerians.
Alake claims that foreigners engaged in illicit mining are not the majority of miners; rather, they are only indicators of a more serious problem.
He revealed that both kinetic and non-kinetic methods were being used in continuing efforts to locate and deal with these influential people.
Alake stated, “Nigerians are those powerful people behind them; we are identifying them with both kynetic and non-kynetic means. We have encouraged those petty illegal miners to form cooperatives.”
The majority of foreigners involved in illegal mining in the nation, according to him, lack valid immigration, which is the most unsettling element.
According to him, a legal framework that the multinational, like the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd., could interact with was necessary for mining to provide the necessary revenue.
He clarified, however, that the ministry he led would take a different tack from NNPCL and that the Nigeria Mining Cooperation’s proposed structure would be mostly driven by the private sector.
He disclosed that “Nigeria will also have its equity, adding that this would mean that no government could destabilize the structure.”
Alake asked the committee to back the ministry’s efforts, pointing out Nigeria’s enormous mineral endowment, which is believed to be worth over $700 billion. He also emphasised the potential to bring in trillions of dollars for the national coffers.
He emphasised how crucial it is to involve host communities in order to uphold peace and order around mining operations.
Alake also begged the committee to take into account the amount allocated in the 2024 budget proposal for the ministry.
“If we are given that amount of money, I can tell you that what the ministry will contribute will outweigh other ministries, including what we are deriving from oil.
“We can return trillions to the coffers of this country as revenue if we are given such a budget as proposed,” he added.
The minister stated that Nigeria has the potential to become one of the global economic hubs due to its strong mineral resources, with 44 of our minerals in high demand and six that are in worldwide demand.
Rep. Gaza Gbefwi, the committee chairman, recognised the importance of the solid minerals industry to the nation’s economic diversification.
Nonetheless, he denounced the glaringly insufficient funding allotted in the 2024 budget and promised bold measures via laws and motions to fortify and restructure the industry.
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