By Musa Adamu
Federal givernment has warned members of the Special Mines Surveillance Taskforce (SMSTF) on illegal mining against compromise on their assignment
SMSTF membesrhip are drawn from the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Customs, DSS, EFCC, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp and the Zonal Mines Offers in the states.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu, who handed down the warning said members must avoid the temptation of compromising the objectives of the assignment.
He gave the warning at the opening session of the second phase training of members of the SMSTF on illegal mining organised by the Ministry in Jos, Pleateau state.
The training is structured in three phases and the first phase was held in January this year.
Dr. Mu’azu stated that the training was aimed at enlightening and educating the Taskforce on what constitutes illegal mining as contained in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, its ancillary Regulations 2011, Explosives of 1964 and Regulations of 1967 respectively.
Speaking through his representative, the Director of Mines Inspectorate, Engineer Karnap Wuyep, the Permanent Secretary explained that the Taskforce was established in 2012 with membership drawn from relevant Ministries and Security Agencies.
He assured that the Ministry based on the available budgetary allocation and other intervention funds would provide relevant logistics and funds needed to accomplish their assignment.
He also enjoined them to use the knowledge and skills acquired for proper minefield monitoring and surveillance to curb illegal mining across the Federation.
Engr David Awojobi in his paper “Special Mines Surveillance Taskforce, Functions of the SMSTF, Illegal Mining and its Menace and SMSTF Terms of Reference” stated the history of the establishment of the Taskforce and its functions as well as the characteristics of illegal miners.
He enjoined participants to develop proactive rather than reactive strategies in curb illegal mining because prevention is better than cure. He added that the present government has demonstrated political will towards the revamping of the mining sector.
Another resource person Prof. S.J.Mallo in his paper enumerated the various classifications of minerals and their uses.
He spoke on tracking system of minerals and proposed a tracking model for minerals based on the use of human beings to track minerals and transmit information in hard and soft copies.
Engr S.O.Oladipo spoke on what constitute lawful and unlawful Acts in Mining, available mining regulations, provisions of the 2007 Mining Act and enumerated the benefits and sanctions in mining operations.
The Director Planning Research and Statistics in the Ministry, Mr. Olapade Davies gave an overview of the Ministry.
He said that Nigeria is blessed with over 44 types of minerals and 500 mineral locations across the country. He said the Federal government is targeting a growth in GDP from 0.33% to 3% in the mining sector.