*Expresses disgust at Perm. Sec’s presentation
05 Agust 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said the Federal Government will no longer tolerate activities of illegal miners in the county.
The president warned that the Federal Government will come down hard on illegal mining and other improper activities inhibiting the growth of Nigeria’s solid minerals sector.
Buhari, who issued the warning after receiving a briefing from top officials of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development led by Permanent Secretary, Baba Umar Farouk, noted his dismay at the irresponsible attitude to issues related to mining regulation in the country.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed the development in a statement released after the briefing by ministry officials.
According to the President, the mines and steel sector was very important for diversification of the economy, and expressed displeasure at Farouk’s report that the sector had been overrun by illegal miners.
“This is one of the most demoralising briefs I have received. The biggest threat to this country besides the Boko Haram is unemployment and the mining sector is key to employment creation.
“We cannot be held back on such a strategic industry that can give us much needed jobs and promote economic growth,” he said.
The President decried the wayward manner with which affairs of government have been conducted, especially in ministries and parastatals, noting that public servants have not been interested in providing solutions to the myriads of problems facing the government.
“There must be more seriousness in running this country and we are determined to instill that seriousness,” the president said.
The Permanent Secretary had told the President that Nigeria’s mining sector has been infiltrated by “illegal aliens” who carry out unlawful mining activities in the country.
The solid mines and steel sectors have remained some of the least developed sectors despite the country being endowed with numerous mineral resources at a commercial level and despite millions of dollars in support from organisations like the World Bank.
There is virtually little organized or mid-level professional mining taking place anywhere in the country, giving room for illegal and small-scale or artisanal mining, with several ‘briefcase’ merchants, mostly Asians, invading the land to cart away tons of mineral resources including precious stones.