The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has told registered miners to carry on with their mining operations, as the proposed ban on mining only targets illegal miners.
The Federal Government of Nigeria had disclosed that it was considering a national ban on commercial motorcycles, mining activities, among others to arrest the scourge of insecurity in the country.
Business stakeholders had however asked the government to reconsider its decision, stating that the ban would be detrimental to local and foreign investors.
But the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development clarified that the ban would be on illegal miners, advising registered miners to adhere to safe mining protocols.
A statement issued by the Director, Press and Public Relations of the Ministry, Etore Thomas reads:
“It’s necessary to clarify that the measures being considered by the security council are targeted to cut off sources of funding and logistics, which terrorists have leveraged on to execute their nefarious activities.
“Although, government is yet to take a decision on the ban of mining across the country.
“The ministry wishes to inform the public that efforts are being intensified against illegal mining activities across the country, as this has been established to have connections with banditry and kidnapping.
“The additional measures that may be taken is (sic), therefore, targeted at the activities of illegal miners and not legitimate operators in the sector.”
The statement added that the ministry is saddled with the responsibility of advising the federal government on the formulation and execution of laws and regulations guiding mining, among other duties.
It noted that mineral resources remained on the exclusive legislative list as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) for the purposes of clarity.
“Section 44 (3) states: The entire property in and control of all minerals, mineral oils and natural gas in, under or upon any land in Nigeria or in, under or upon the territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone of Nigeria shall vest in the Federal Government,” the statement further reads.
“The mineral shall be managed in such manner as may be prescribed by the national assembly; likewise, the Nigerian minerals and mining act of 2007 is very clear on the issue of minerals ownership and exploitation.”