Association appeals to Nigerian Govt to provide security in mining sites

A-mining-field-in-Nigeria

Mining field

Mining field

The Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to ensure adequate security measures are put in place in all the mining sites across the country.

Alhaji Lawal Mayere, the Chairman of MAN, Kaduna chapter, who made this appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

He stressed the need for mining sector to contribute meaningfully to the development of the nation’s economy.

Mayere, who is also the chairman, Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO), Kaduna State, said that the government should beef up security across all mining sites to enable investors operate without the fear of attack.

He said mining investors were scared to operate in Kaduna State due to incessant killing and kidnapping of miners by gunmen.

According to him, licensed miners in the state are afraid to operate in their sites due to attacks by unidentified gunmen.

He said the recent attack on artisanal miners (illegal miners) operating in Junruwa community of Muganda District, Birni Gwari Local Government Area in Kaduna State was unfortunate.

He said instead of the 14 miners killed as reported in the media, a source in the village told him that no fewer than 40 illegal miners, including farmers were killed by the gunmen.

He also alleged that six artisanal miners that were mining tin mineral four weeks ago were shot dead by gunmen inside the ditch in Southern Kaduna.

According to him, it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to provide security at all mining sites across the country to ensure an atmosphere conducive for their operation.

“Leaving security activities in the hands of mining investors is discouraging and it can make foreign mining investors not to invest in Nigeria.

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“If the government cannot provide adequate security, that means it is not interested in the business of mining, how can mining strive in Nigeria or contribute to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP)?

“I am a licensed miner and a farmer but I am scared to go to my site and farm because of unidentified gunmen,” he said.

According to him, the surveillance taskforce initiated by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has not been posted to Kaduna.

“I have spoken with the Permanent Secretary of the ministry on insecurity affecting mining operators in Kaduna, and he said we can make our case known to the ministry in writing requesting for surveillance taskforce.

“The surveillance taskforce is an ad hoc body, it only shows up in any state that has illegal mining problem, they are not permanent in any state, they cannot curb insecurity,” Mayere said.

He urged the Federal Government to hire local security men to guard all mining sites across the country, as they would be able to detect crimes easily.

Mr Patrick Ojenka, the Director, Artisanal and all Scale Mining Department, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, said security was out of the purview of the ministry.

“Every mining site is a den for criminals; attacks in Birnin Gwari have been consistent for quite some time now; therefore, insecurity is not in the ministry’s purview to solve,” he said.

Ojenka observed that the challenge was beyond the capacity of the ministry, saying that the ministry cannot provide security for miners but only an enabling environment to operate.

“Security can only be provided by the security agencies not the ministry, adding that the surveillance taskforce initiated by the ministry could only intervene to some extent but not to be on mine field permanently,” Ojenka said.

Kaduna State is blessed with minerals such as Gemstones, Industrial Minerals, Gold, Cassiterite, Tantalite, Wolframite, Columbite, Manganese, Molybdenum, Lithium and Nickel.