Minister: Powerful Nigerians Behind Illegal Mining Fund Terrorism  - The Top Society

Minister: Powerful Nigerians Behind Illegal Mining Fund Terrorism 

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The Minister of Solid Mineral, Mr. Dele Alake, has raised alarming concerns before the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals, accusing influential Nigerians engaged in illegal mining of funding criminal activities, including banditry and terrorism in the country.

During the 2024 budget defense session, Minister Alake emphasized that these powerful individuals were not merely involved in picking gold on the ground but were orchestrating significant security threats within the nation.

“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.” 

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He pointed out that while many illegal miners were not foreigners, the most distressing revelation was that a considerable number of foreign illegal miners lacked proper immigration documentation.

Alake stressed the necessity for a formalized structure, similar to the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL), to ensure that mining could generate the required revenue. However, he clarified that the proposed structure for the Nigeria Mining Cooperation would be primarily private sector-driven, differing from the NNPCL approach.

Highlighting the vast mineral wealth in the country, Alake stated that the conservative estimate of minerals exceeded $700 billion, with Nigeria tapping into only a fraction of its potential.

He urged the committee’s support for the proposed changes, emphasizing that engaging host communities would be crucial to maintaining law and order in areas with mining activities.

The minister pleaded with the committee to reconsider the budget allocation for the ministry in the 2024 budget proposal.

“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 said.

He outlined that Nigeria possesses 44 minerals, with six in global demand, and emphasized the nation’s potential to become a key player in the world economy through solid minerals.

In response, Rep. Gaza Gbefwi, the chairman of the committee, acknowledged the significance of the solid minerals sector as a pivotal component for the country’s economic diversification.

However, he expressed concern over the grossly inadequate funds allocated to the sector in the 2024 budget. Gbefwi announced the committee’s proactive steps to introduce motions and bills aimed at strengthening and reorganizing the sector for optimal performance.

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