June 22, 2020
The Arrest Of Foreign Illegal Miners: A Call For Stronger Regulation Of The Solid Mineral Sector
The Federation of Nigerian Mining Host Communities, Miners Association of Nigeria and the Civil Society Coalition on Nigeria’s Mining Sector, are pleased to note and commend the political will of the Honourable Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, in sanitizing the mining industry in Nigeria. This willingness was particularly demonstrated when in the month of May 2020, 3 separate sets of arrests were made of illegal aliens (particularly Chinese and Ghanaian miners) who have been mining without due authorization in Nigeria. We also note and applaud the improved cooperation between the Ministry and security forces across the country.
However, since these arrests which were made through the combined efforts of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the Nigeria Police Force, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps a month ago, the apprehended suspects are yet to be arraigned before a competent court of law. There has also been no official statement by the Ministry highlighting their next steps towards ensuring preventive oversight and regulation of the sector.
It is clear to all that the mining sector possesses inherent potential to substantially improve Nigerian economy. However, the sector suffers from revenue leakages due to failure to strengthen its regulation, and decades long failure to tackle the lack of transparency and accountability, thereby inhibiting its inability to adequately contribute to the country’s economy. In addition, the environmental degradation, loss of water bodies and insecurity suffered by mining host communities are in no way commensurate to the volume of mining that has been accounted for in the country. The actions of illegal and unregulated miners are contributory to these many challenges that impede the growth of the solid mineral sector.
Our fear at this time is that the impunity that has been so pervasive in other sectors of Nigeria might again truncate the steady progress being made by the Ministry of Mines and Steel, and set the country back at a time when the growth of the solid mineral sector is critical to its economic stability. As we all know, the time tested adage ‘justice delayed, is justice denied’ is true.
It is against this backdrop the Federation of Nigerian Mining Host Communities, Miners Association of Nigeria and Civil Society Coalition on Nigeria’s Mining Sector make a call for the following:
The immediate arraignment of the apprehended illegal miners before a competent court of law.
The resuscitation of the Mining Industry Strategy Team (MIST) constituted by the office of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development to monitor and advise on the implementation of the Minerals and Mining Roadmap.
Increased surveillance of mineral rich communities across Nigeria to prevent unregulated mining, and incentivizing host communities to report irregular activities.
The incentivizing of the formation of mining cooperatives by artisanal miners regulations of the solid mineral sector to ensure that it contributes adequately to the country’s economy.
The increased monitoring of the activities of foreign mining companies in the solid mineral sectors.
Signed on behalf of Federation of Nigerian Mining Host Communities and Civil Society Coalition on Nigeria’s Mining Sector:
Federation of Mining Host Communities of Nigeria
Miners Association of Nigeria
Nigeria Chambers of Mines
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Women in Mining
Center for Community Excellence (CENCEX), Zamfara
Community Enlightenment & Development Initiative (CEDI), Zamfara
Connected Development (CODE)
Publish What You Pay
Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD)
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria
Neighbourhood Environment Watch Foundation
Stephanie Peacebuilding and Development Foundation
Methodist Care and Development Trust
New Generation and Social Development Initiative
Initiative for Participation, Accountability and Inclusive Development