In the midst of cries that Nigeria is broke, the Senate on Thursday, November 19, revealed that the country loses about N4 trillion annually to illegal mining activities.
Directing its Committee on Solid Minerals during plenary to see that the issue is investigated, the senate said that with the low performance of the oil sector in recent times, the development was indeed worrisome.
The Senate also directed the Inspector-General of Police and other law enforcement agencies to step up to their responsibilities, particularly by arresting and prosecuting illegal miners.
The red chamber enjoined the executive at all levels to take definite actions to end illegal mining activities.
These resolutions were made sequel to a motion raised by Sen. Duro Faseyi (PDP Ekiti North), seeking an end to illegal mining in the country.
Faseyi called the attention of the plenary to what he described the actions of the local and foreign illegal miners as ‘’worrisome and unlawful plundering’’ of nation’s solid minerals.
He said that unlawful mining had caused the loss of over N8 trillion by the nation ‘’every two years’’, decrying that this had impacted negatively on the already ailing economy.
The lawmaker blamed the illegal practices on weak legislations and poor enforcements.
According to him, this development has strained the urgent need to diversify the economy from oil to solid minerals.
He observed also that illegal mining had resulted in the pollution and degradation of the environment which has led to countless deaths and thousands of ailing Nigerians.
He went further to suggest that the senate should pass laws that will enable the state government to have jurisdiction to mine solid minerals for productive exploitation.
Bukola Saraki, the Senate President assured that the government will do everything to tackle the mining problem.