By Musa Adamu
Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has procured 40 vehicles for its war against illegal mining across the country.
The Minister, Dr Kayode Fayemi said the move was aimed at drastically reducing the activities of illegal mining in the country.
He also said it would lead and to growth in jobs and revenue, and the laying of the foundations of the Nigerian Mining Sector.
He said the vehicles would be used for the Operations of Special Mines Surveillance Taskforce (SMSTF) and the State Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO).
He said the Committee would operate in all the states of the federation including the FCT.
He said the committee would advise the minister on all issues relating to the Mineral Resources Development, Environmental Protection, Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources, conflict resolutions and other environmental and social issues.
He said: “The Committee became operational with the inauguration of the 37 Committee chairman on the 19th August, 2018 in Abuja.”
He said due to lack of required logistics, the Special Mines Surveillance Taskforce and MIREMCO could not deliver their mandates leading to upsurge in the activities of illegal mining across the states of the federation and strained relationship with states and local governments.
“Considering the alarming rate the illegal mining has posed against the present administration’s efforts in diversifying the economy, Government has decided to take a coordinated approach to curtail the menace, sanitize the mines-field and position the sector on the path of sustainable development, hence the resuscitation of the Special Mines Surveillance Taskforce (SMSTF) in 2017. It may be recalled that the Task Force was establish in 2012 with membership drawn from relevant Ministries and security organisations.
“The Taskforce was given mandates structured into Short, Medium and Long term for greater efficiency. One of the medium term targets is the enlightenment and education of its members on relevant aspects of mining particularly mining legislations, mineral identification etc. So far, the Ministry has organised a Capacity Building Workshop in phases for the members of the Taskforce to achieve that objective. The first phase took place on 22nd – 26th January, 2018 at NIMG, Jos, Plateau State and the second phase is scheduled to take place on 26th – 30th march, 2018.
“Similarly, the current administration took decisive measures to reactivate the State Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) in all the States of the Federation including FCT in 2017. The Ministry communicated 27 states and FCT, where MIREMCO were inactive, on 17th July, 2017 to resuscitate the Committee in the affected States and their responses have been encouraging. The good news is that MIREMCO is now vibrant in 26 states.”