Posted by News Express | 23 February 2016 | 3,688 times
The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Monday said that the Federal Government is set to revoke licenses in the mining and exploration sector that have been dormant and have not operated over a period of time.
Speaking during a fact finding tour to Niger State, the Minister said that the Federal Government is not out to criminalise ordinary Nigerians who are working hard to make a living for themselves, but added that if they choose to remain illegal after government has extended its hand of support, they will have to face the wrath of the law.
“Illegal mining exists, we need to stop being in denial of it. One of this government’s priorities is to provide jobs for our people. We are not criminalising hardworking Nigerians who are trying to eke out a living for themselves rather, we are aiming to formalise the sector.
“We are working to ensure that those referred to as illegals are formalised into cooperatives to enable them contribute to the Nigerian society via taxes.
After this step, anyone who chooses to remain illegal, we will wage war against them.”
Dr. Fayemi explained the benefits of organising the illegal miners into cooperatives and this include helping them with facilities to access finances.
“Many people in Nigeria own mining, exploration and small scale licenses and have not been operating in the places where they are issued with the licenses. This is not acceptable.
“Government have turned a blind eye to such activities for a long time, henceforth, government will no longer tolerate that. In a matter of weeks, we will publish the names of people who are holding onto dormant licenses that are not in use and give them an appropriate period to redeem themselves or revoke the licenses.”
Fayemi, who paid a courtesy visit to the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, after his visit to some mining sites in Paikoro and Chachanga, said that government wants mining to become the alternative revenue earner in Nigeria.
He stressed the importance of strengthening the relationship between the Federal Government and states.
“With what is happening to oil in the country, we do not have a choice but to look for alternative sources of revenue in order for Nigeria to move forward.”
Niger State Governor then called on the Federal Government to show more commitment to the development of solid minerals.
He pointed out that the over-dependence on oil has not paid the nation in recent times.
“There have not been seriousness in solid minerals and agricultural sector in the past. We have been too dependent on oil revenue which is not available to us again. We need to start developing other sectors that will be economically viable for the nation.”
He lauded the effort of the Minister in ensuring that those with licenses in the sector put their license to use.
“We need to get a data of owners of licenses and bring them under one umbrella. We need to formalise the sector. Something needs to be done with those who have licenses and are not using it.” (Channels TV)
•Photo shows Dr Fayemi.
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