The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake has revealed that some powerful individuals are the ones sponsoring banditry and kidnappings associated with the mining sector in Nigeria.
Speaking on Tuesday when he appeared before the House Committee on Solid Minerals to defend the Ministry’s 2024 budget estimate, Alake added that those behind the criminal activities are Nigerians and not foreigners.
The Minister added that the government is not resting in tackling the menace, however, as it is working on identifying such individuals and to make them face appropriate sanctions.
He noted that the government is committed to ensuring eliminating the insecurity in areas of the country with solid mineral deposits so investors who have shown interest in investing in the solid minerals sector in the country can have peace regarding their investments.
He said: “One discovery that we have made is that a lot of these insecurities and banditry associated with this sector are sponsored by illegal miners.
“These are not your artisan miners. They are not the people who pick gold on the ground. These are heavy and powerful individuals in our country. They are Nigerians and not foreigners.
“Yes, you can see foreigners as symptoms, but they are not the basics. Nigerians are the powers behind those foreigners that you see on the streets. We are identifying them and employing various strategies, both kinetic and non-kinetic.
“The non-kinetic with that artisan miners, I gave them an ultimatum that they should form themselves into cooperatives because every Nigerian has a right to life and necessities and if the government cannot provide these necessities, we cannot push them into the bush.”