The Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) have commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for tackling illegal mining activities and non-payment of royalties to the Federal Government.
The Chairman of the group who doubles as the chairman, Nigeria Mining and Geo-science Society (MGS), Ilorin Chapter, Mr Abdulraman Ottan, made the commendation during a solidarity visit to the commission’s zonal command in Ilorin on Wednesday.
Ottan declared support for the intervention of the EFCC in regulating the mining sector, which he described as a “bold step”.
He expressed the readiness of the committee to collaborate and partner with the commission while urging every sector of the economy to work with the anti-graft agency in order to rid the country of corruption.
“Our committee is very happy and pleased with your recent actions on the mining transactions within the state, specifically, the illegal mining of lithium ore within Pategi Local Government Area, and wish to pledge our total support in ensuring the success of this very necessary but long overdue exercise.
“This action is quite laudable and has projected Kwara State as a mineral producing state, with high socio-economic consequences, which serves as a signal that the Nigeria mining space must be sanitised to achieve the desired economic benefits.
“Illegal mining is the worst thing that can happen to any economy, it is not only economic sabotage, but one that causes a lot of socio-economic destruction, insecurity, banditry and a host of other vices,” he said.
Respinding, the Zonal Commander, Mr Michael Nzekwe, expressed delight with the visit, saying there is still hope for Nigeria.
Nzekwe said that the action of the commission to clamp down on suspected illegal miners in the state was not to witch-hunt but to regulate the sector and ensure that the right thing was done in line with the mandate of the commission.
He appealed to the public to support the EFCC in its efforts to fight corruption and make Nigeria a better place.
“The EFCC has seen that there are enormous mineral deposits in Kwara and if rightfully put to use, the state can become a small London,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the EFCC recently moved against illegal mining business in Kwara, resulting in the arrest of no fewer than 45 suspected illegal miners.
The operation also led to the seizure of 14 trucks loaded with assorted crude minerals being smuggled out of the state for sale outside the country.