The Minister of Solid Mineral, Dele Alake, has accused powerful Nigerians of being behind the illegal mining activities that are funding banditry and terrorism in the country. He said the ministry was working with the security agencies to expose and apprehend these sponsors, who he said were not mere gold diggers but influential individuals.
Alake made this revelation on Tuesday, when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals to defend the 2024 budget proposal of his ministry. He said the country had over 700 billion dollars worth of mineral resources, which could only be harnessed with a formal structure that would attract multinational investors, similar to the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd.
He also said that most of the illegal miners operating in the country were Nigerians, while the foreigners involved were only symptoms of a deeper problem. He lamented that many of these foreigners had no valid immigration documents and were exploiting the country’s resources with impunity.
He further said that his ministry was proposing a new structure for the Nigeria Mining Cooperation, which would be driven by the private sector and would ensure transparency and accountability in the mining sector. He appealed to the committee to support his ministry’s efforts to transform the mining industry in the country.