Minister of Solid Minerals inaugurates Mining Marshals

Alake said the security architecture structure would be rooted in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT with a mines command in every state.

Minister of Solid Minerals inaugurates mining marshals

Minister of solid minerals inaugurates mining marshalsDele Alake, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, has inaugurated the first batch of Mining Marshals Corps to combat illegal mining.

BRANDPOWER reports that the presentation of the mining marshals took place in Abuja on Thursday.

Alake said the mining marshals were drawn from the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

He said the NSCDC, being a nationwide paramilitary organisation, would deploy units across the country.

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The minister said the units would work with the federal mines officers in the states and local governments to combat illegal mining in all forms

“On assumption of office, we announced the seven-point agenda as the strategy to position the solid minerals sector for domestic growth and international competitiveness.

“A crucial component of the agenda is the transformation of the security architecture to combine ground troops with innovative technology.

“To demonstrate the priority this administration places on security, the president set up an inter-ministerial committee on the protection of natural resources which I chaired.

“The protection of the mines, the forests, and the coastal shores of the country were critical components of our brief.

” One of the outcomes of our strategy is what we are witnessing today- the presentation of the mining marshals to engage illegal miners. ”

The minister said once the issue of insecurity was tackled in the sector it would be the next revenue saviour of the Nigerian economy.

According to him, we want the minerals sector to contribute 50 per cent to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the long term, hence securing the sector is critical to achieving this objective.

Alake said the security architecture structure would be rooted in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT with a mines command in every state.

“We will have a command structure in every state and there is an overall commander. The overall command force is domiciled in the Ministry of Solid Minerals”.

He said they were starting with 60 marshals per command adding that the military and police would also join the mining marshals later because it was set up to be an inter-security architecture.

The Commandant General(CG), NSCDC, Ahmed Audi, said the corps was established to secure the critical assets infrastructure of the government, and mining sites were one of those assets.

Audi, who also represented the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, said the country was losing revenue from the mining industry, hence the reason to act fast and come up with the mining marshals.

He said that the marshals were selected from the best in the corps and had been specially trained.

Audi assured that the marshals would go after the illegal miners to prevent further loss of revenue in the sector.

“We are ready to work for Nigeria and improve the revenue profile of the nation. This is just the first batch and more batches will be added,” he said.

Rep. Gaza Gbefwi, House Committee Chairman on Solid Minerals, gave his assurance to the ministers of the cooperation of the National Assembly to achieve the goal of tackling illegal mining.

“We have two major bills in the house which have scaled second reading, one of which is to establish a mines inspectorate to increase the workforce to ensure the goals of ensuring security is achieved.

“I commended the ministers of solid minerals and the minister of interior for a job well done. Whatever you need to achieve this lofty but difficult goal I assure you we will be behind you,” Gbefwi said.

BRANDPOWER reports that there was an inspection of the marshals by Alake before they were presented and handed over to him by the Minister of Interior.