Nigeria: Mining host communities demand swift prosecution and justice from illegal miners arrested

The arrest of 27 illegal miners in the state has led to mining host communities demanding swift justice and compensation from the illegal miners. Those apprehended include 17 Chinese nationals and 10 locals, including a local traditional ruler (Baale). Addressing journalists on Sunday, Mr Binuyo said beyond the economic leakages, the illegal miners had also polluted the Osun River with poisonous metals, thereby making it unsafe for human consumption and irrigation. He added that those arrested will be prosecuted and made to pay compensation. The mining communities went further to say that no one should be exempt from justice. They allege that  "Impunity has engendered corruption in Nigeria, and as found in other sectors of the economy, frustrated attempts at developing the mining sector in Nigeria. This must stop.

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Article
20 May 2020

Nigeria: Mining host communities demand an end to unregulated mining activities in their areas

Author: Adejumo kabir, Premium Times (Nigeria)

“llegal Mining - Group Calls for Speedy Justice in Cases Involving Chinese Suspects”  13 May 2020

A coalition of Nigerian mining host communities and Civil Society groups in the mining sector has called for speedy dispensation of justice in cases involving 19 foreigners and 21 Nigerians arrested recently for illegal mining activities in Osun and Zamfara states. The group made the call in a statement on Wednesday. It also applauded the efforts of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the police, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and other security agencies in apprehending the suspects…The coalition condemned alleged undue pressure on the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, by "godfathers" to release the Chinese suspects and drop the case against them.

"Impunity has engendered corruption in Nigeria, and as found in other sectors of the economy, frustrated attempts at developing the mining sector in Nigeria. This must stop. While it is true that until recently, hydrocarbons have been the core source of revenue from Nigeria's extractive sector, the solid mineral sector, which now holds an even stronger potential to substantially contribute to the development of the nation's economy, continues to suffer monumental revenue leakages due to decades of failure to strengthen institutional oversight of the sector, leading to the lack of transparency and accountability. "The government's efforts must not end with just knee-jerked arrests and prosecution of foreign illegal miners, it must include concerted efforts to ensure that the avenues through which solid minerals are ferried out of Nigeria without due process are blocked. In addition to ensuring an end to the thriving illicit trade within, and smuggling of solid minerals out of Nigeria, government policies should promote the beneficiation of such minerals in order to enhance their value, and promote fiscal maximization of the sector.

…As mining host communities bear the environmental and economic brunt of the unregulated activities of these miscreants, we make a special call to include civil society actors and representatives of mining host communities in the composition of each state's Mineral Resources and Environmental Committees (MIREMCO) to ensure a function - friendly protection of the rights of mining host states and effective synergies between states and the federal government," the statement said. The coalition also called on the Federal Government to create a level-playing field for local investors through the promotion and capacity-building of local mining cooperatives, and the facilitation of credit systems for them.

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Article
20 May 2020

Nigeria: Security officials sweep in on illegal miners causing pollution on rivers

Author: Adejumo kabir, Premium Times (Nigeria)

‘17 Chinese men arrested for illegal mining in Nigeria’ 4 May 2020

The Osun State Government on Sunday announced the arrest of 27 illegal miners in the state. Those apprehended include 17 Chinese nationals and 10 locals, including a local traditional ruler (Baale). The arrest was confirmed by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the State Governor, Abdullahi Binuyo, who noted that no responsible government will fold its arms and watch its land being degraded by unauthorised persons. Premium times gathered that the arrest was executed by the recently inaugurated Osun State Security Taskforce (Amotekun) around Ilesa and Ife axis of the state.

This action is coming five months after a report by Premium times exposed how a large number of illegal miners pursued from Zamfara now carry out their unauthorised business in Osun, largely working for Chinese firms. After this newspaper’s exposè, Nigerians on social media charged the authorities to take appropriate steps to stop illegal gold mining in the state and other places. Also, public health experts warned that if not properly tackled, illegal mining will lead to environmental and human health problems. Last week, the state government arrested 11 indigenes of Zamfara who sneaked into the state for alleged illegal mining activities amidst the coronavirus lockdown.

Addressing journalists on Sunday, Mr Binuyo said beyond the economic leakages, the illegal miners had also polluted the Osun River with poisonous metals, thereby making it unsafe for human consumption and irrigation. He added that those arrested will be prosecuted and made to pay compensation…“The people you see here neither have genuine mining licences nor are they registered with the government. What they claim to have is Exploration Licences, which does not allow them to mine, the way they are doing. So, we will be prosecuting them and make them pay damages.”

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