The Federal Government has promised to prosecute the 17 Chinese illegal miners recently apprehended in Osun state, the two caught in Zamfara state and others apprehended for illegal mining to the complete extent of the law.
The Government said although the Chinese are the foremost culpable illegal miners stealing the country’s gold, it’s aware that other nationals like Senegalese, Burkinabes etc also are mining illegally and can be addressed when caught.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite stated this in Abuja at a press briefing.
He said that the continued pandemic has caused the worth of other industrial minerals to crash, but gold which happens to be the safest currency within the world at the instant .
Adegbite said that an oz of gold is presently being sold for about $1,768 within the International stock exchange, increasing the importance of gold and therefore the mad rush of illegal mining activities.
The Minister stated he had met with the judge of the Federation on the matter who advised he’s employed with the Chief Judge of the Federal supreme court and therefore the Attorney General to designate some particular courts for accelerated hearing.
He said, “In the previous couple of days, social media has been flooded with apprehending of illegal miners, it had been first in Zamfara state then more recently Osun, if you notice the 2 states are along the gold vein, we all know needless to say that in Osun state for instance a far off company is already performing on the mine there and that we have potentials in numerous other areas in Osun and Zamfara for gold.
“Because of the continued pandemic everywhere the planet , other industrial minerals aren’t selling such a lot now because industries that might use them are pack up , also due to the economic problems related to this pandemic currencies are losing their value so naturally everybody is escaping to gold, immediately gold is that the safest currency within the world, if you check out the International stock exchange , the worth of gold keeps rising.
”I feel the last time i checked it had been $1768 to an oz of gold, this increasing importance of gold and therefore the demand for it’s caused a rise in Illegal activities of mining, I dare say, no foreigner can inherit Nigeria to urge involved in illegal mining without conniving with our people.
“A lot of our people invite these people as we’ve said severally we try to not criminalize artisanal miners in within the country, who mine in order that they will feed but bring them into the fold and it’s the activities of artisanal miners that these illegal miners hide under to perpetrate their act.
“Despite the very fact that the federal placed a ban on mining activities in Zamfara state early last year, some kind of illegality was still happening especially with foreign nationals.
“The foreign nationals that are identified are Chinese, Burkinabes, Senegalese etc but particularly the Chinese.
“We haven’t been ready to successfully prosecute any illegal miner in Nigeria so we’ve written appreciation letters to the governments of the 2 states who have apprehended these people and urged them to permit us because the body empowered to prosecute these people under the mining act for what they need done.
“States may take them for a few misdemeanor like environment but the crux of their crime is against the law mining and only the federal has the mandate in Federal supreme court .
“We are taking them to the Federal supreme court the case is being complied, within the past they need assumed that we will only bark but not bite.
“We have caught some people and therefore the case often gets lost after a couple of years and it’s not heard again but now, if we are ready to prosecute these people successfully, which we shall do.
”it’ll send the proper signals to others who do this. We acknowledged that the majority of those foreigners involved during this are within the country illegally