The Department of Mines and Steel Development clarified that the federal government’s recent proposal to ban mining and commercial activities on motorcycles does not target legitimate miners.
A statement signed by the ministry’s director of press and public relations, Etore Efiom Thomas, has allayed fears among registered miners that their activities could be stopped under the government’s recently announced plan to ban minors and okada as a means of combating terrorist activities in the country.
The statement SAID; “It is necessary to clarify that the measures envisaged by the Security Council aim to cut off the sources of funding and logistics on which the terrorists have relied to carry out their nefarious activities, although the government has not yet taken a decision on this subject. To this end, the ministry wishes to inform the public that for the safety and security of the country, efforts are being intensified against illegal mining activities across the country as they have been found to have links to banditry and kidnappings. The additional measures that can be taken are therefore targeted at the activities of illegal miners and not at legitimate operators in the sector.
He added that the ministry advised duly registered miners to continue their operations, while adhering to safe mining protocols and ensuring that safety is the priority at their various sites. The statement asserts that the federal government retains powers under the law to control extractive activities in the country.
“For the sake of clarity, mineral resources remain on the exclusive legislative list as enshrined in the 1999 constitution (as amended). Section 44(3) states that “the entire ownership and control of all minerals, mineral oils and natural gas in, under or on any land in Nigeria or in, under or on the territorial waters and area exclusive economic power of Nigeria shall be vested in the government of the federation and shall be administered in such manner as the National Assembly may prescribe”.
“Similarly, the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act 2007 is very clear on the issue of ownership and exploitation of minerals – Section 1(1) states: ‘Full ownership and control of all mineral resources in, under or on any land in Nigeria, its contiguous continental shelf and all rivers, streams and watercourses through Nigeria, any area covered by its territorial waters or its constituency and the exclusive economic zone are and will be vested in the government of the federation for and on behalf of the people of Nigeria,” he said, adding that the role of the ministry is to advise on the formulation and execution of laws and regulations governing mining and other activities.