Miners under the aegis of Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), on Wednesday, cried out over neglect, maltreatment and accusation of fueling insecurity, hence ban on mining activities in some States in the country.
This was disclosed by the Ag National President, Musa Muhammad, along with the National Secretary, ‘Dele Ayanleke, and National Publicity Secretary, Tope Adebanjo, in a press statement, signed by the trio.
The statement pointed that the miners are not given the desired and expected attention by the government despite the Buhari-led administration declared that the nation’s mining sector would be a platform and as well an alternative to diversify the economy from oil and gas sector.
The association also expressed displeasure at the way and manner some government agencies have made it so unbearable with difficult conditions to access funds meant for miners and development of the solid minerals sector.
On the issue of insecurity allegedly traceable to the mining sector, the association dismissed it by making it known that In spite of the heavy dependent on the mining revenue by the nation before discovery of oil and gas, the mass of people involved in mining, history does not have any record of insecurity associated with mining.
They said, “In about a couple of days ago, the Nigeria mining industry, particularly the solid minerals sector, came on trial when the news space was agog with the proposed ban on mining activities in Nigeria by the Federal Government.
“This proposal was among the measures being considered by the National Security Council to checkmate the rising insecurity in the country.
“In view of an earlier Press Release by this Association, which was published in some print and online media, and the enormity of public debates generated by the proposal, this address will dwell less on the proposed ban, but may educate the public on the purposed relationship between mining and insecurity along with some of the multi-faceted challenges confronting the solid minerals sector.
“While this Association consents to the notion and reality of the embarrassing trend of the national insecurity and the dire need to combat it headlong, especially as the sector that feels the heat of insecurity more than any other sectors, it is important for the public to know that mining is neither a precursor to national insecurity nor its sustainer.
“The mining industry today became associated with insecurity because of some collateral factors which shall be briefly enumerated below: Most mining sites are located far away into the wilderness without good road networks and other social amenities, thereby making them safe havens for banditry and all other forms of criminalities.
“The banning of mining activities in Zamfara and Katsina states has only succeeded in getting the legitimate operators out of their concessions and providing hideouts for these criminals.
“The indiscriminate entry of foreign nationals, especially those of Asian and European extractions, who are the major targets of kidnappers.
“Lack of monitoring and digitized surveillance capacity of the security agencies.”
The association, however, acknowledged the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and its agencies in deploying the available resources to carry out some regulatory activities including; Formalization of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners, Digitalization of Mineral Title Administration; Data Generation and Archiving through the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP); Remote Sensing and Data Capturing initiative, construction of cluster centers in the six geopolitical zones; and others.