‘230 Miners Operating Mining Businesses Without Valid Licence in Kwara’

Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

The Kwara State Government at the weekend disclosed that about 230 miners are currently operating mining businesses without valid licenses in their areas of operations across the 16 local government areas of the state.

The government also said that the affected miners have failed to pay royalties to the appropriate authorities in the state.

The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Musa Okanlawon Olarenwaju, disclosed this during his visit to the Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC). 

Olarenwaju, however, pledged the government’s support in the fight against illegal mining in the state.

He said: “We are following your activities closely, especially the latest arrest of some Chinese nationals over alleged illegal mining in the state.

“The Chinese nationals have a company in Olayinka, Ifelodun Local Government of Kwara State when I visited the place, I almost shed tears.

“The place is not developed, the roads are not motorable and yet the company is not paying royalty to the government.”

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Olarenwaju added that the decision of the Ilorin Zonal Command of the EFCC to fight illegal mining operators in the state deserved the support and commendation of all citizens.

To this end, he urged the anti-graft agency not to be deterred by the antics of some corrupt individuals who are benefiting from the illegal operation, as corruption would always fight back.

He opined that the state government was solidly behind the EFCC in its efforts to rid the state of illegal miners who are operating at different locations across the 16 local government areas in the state.

Responding, the Zonal Commander, Mr. Micheal Nzekwe, thanked the ministry for throwing its support behind the EFCC’s fight against corruption, particularly its onslaught against illegal mining operators in the state.

He said: “Such support and collaboration from stakeholders is what EFCC needs to stamp out corruption in Nigeria.”

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He vowed to ensure that the operators would abide by the rules of the game by paying royalties to government and also obey the local content law.

Nzekwe also hinted on plans by the commission to set up a taskforce to tackle illegal mining operators in all local governments.

According to him, the EFCC shall prosecute suspects arrested by the taskforce, which would comprise representatives of all law enforcement agencies in the state.

He said that the first task of the committee would be to meet with all the stakeholders to get support for the fight against illegal mining in the state.

He disclosed that the zonal command had, within the last year, secured the conviction of five illegal mining operators, aside from the huge amount of money recovered from the sector, adding that the commission would not be weary in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

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