19 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja — The Nigerian government has commenced moves to criminalise the export of unprocessed minerals, with the minister of solid minerals stating at the weekend it would no longer tolerate the activities of unscrupulous foreign nationals.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi disclosed that the federal government has commenced moves aimed at making it an offence for anyone to take unprocessed minerals out of the country.
“Government is taking the security of mines more seriously, and a special task force has been put in place to check nefarious activities in mining sites and also to ensure compliance with environmental and security regulations”.
“Government is aware of activities of some foreign nationals who take out of the country unprocessed minerals through illegal routes thereby denying the country of revenue accrued to it through its vast mineral endowment. They will be doing that at their own peril henceforth,” he pledged.
“Taking out unprocessed minerals under any guise is unacceptable and we have taken a firm position on this. We will make it difficult for anybody to take out unprocessed minerals. We are working with the Customs and other relevant security agencies to put an end to this.
“We will support and encourage operators to set up plants, process the minerals here and you can then export it. The economic diversification and employment generation can only be realised with operators cooperating with the government on the mining policy”, the minister added.
The minister said that Nigeria has some of the best mining laws and that enforcement has always been a challenge, adding that many criminally-minded individuals had taken advantage of this poor enforcement to enrich themselves at the expense of the country.
He announced that the Nigerian Police has responded to the security issue with the establishment of a Mines Division in all its state commands.