Mineral theft: Stop encroaching mining sites — FG warns traditional rulers

Following the misdeeds of the menace of mineral theft which have had a grip on Nigeria’s mining sector, the Federal Government (FG) has warned traditional rulers in the Country to distance themselves from encroaching mining sites.

Traditional rulers have been noted on record to constitute key actors among the ‘Very Important Persons’ allegedly guilty of perpetuating illegal mining across the Country.

On Thursday, the Federal Government taking a warning tone against traditional rulers told them to steer far from mining sites, noting that those sites belong to the landowners, and thus it amounts to encroachment to mine on those lands without permission of the owners who acquired them.

Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, during the inauguration of the International Gemstone market under the economic sustainability plan of the government in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, said on Thursday that the Mineral and Mining Act 2007 was in favour of the rightful owner of the proposed site for mining activities, not the traditional rulers.

Adegbite who was responding to the goodwill message of Okere of Saki, Oba Khalid Olabisi, on the activities of miners in his domain and the need for the encouragement of local miners, said the Act stated that the consent of the rightful owners, families or individuals not the traditional rulers must be sought before acquisition or carrying out activities on mining sites at any location in the Country.

“Mining is governed by rules and laws. What is happening at Okeho, Oyo State, as being referred to by the traditional ruler is nothing but an act of illegality,” he said.

According to him, the newly commissioned Gemstone market will create and generate sustainable competitive advantages in key areas including: “development of downstream gemstone and gold mining industries; increasing the level of competitive inputs; increasing the level of employment in all business activities related to the gemstone mining cluster; increasing the rate and exports of value-added products and services and attracting foreign investments among others.”

In his address, the State Governor, Seyi Makinde, represented by the Commissioner for Energy, Oyo State, Temiloluwa Seun, commended the efforts of the Federal Government on diversification, shifting the economic focus from oil to gas sectors.

Makinde noted that his government was embracing the economic diversification policy as means of boosting Internally Generated Revenue and creating jobs for  people in the State.

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