…says some Nigerians colluding with foreigners to rip Nigeria off mining, fuel insecurity


The Nigerian Senate has frowned seriously at the attitude of some Nigerians who collude with unscrupulous foreign elements to rip the country of its mineral wealth, without the corresponding accruals to national revenue.

The Senate is also alarmed at the security problems posed by illegal mining in the country and has vowed to intensify investigations into the management of the sector, in the interest of the country.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Senator Ekong Sampson summed up these positions during a meeting of the Committee in the National Assembly, on Wednesday. Senator Sampson said that reviewing and streamlining mining activities will reposition the solid minerals sector.

It would be recalled that the Senate by its resolutions at plenary, late last year, had mandated the Solid Minerals Committee to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the dwindling revenue derivable from solid minerals development in the country, review activities of policy administrators, policy executors and industry players at the policy formulation, policy execution, and downstream, midstream and upstream operations of the solid minerals sector.

Others were to ascertain the extent and impact of illegal mining activities and the extent of complicity of both local and expatriate industry players as well as review all the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) privatization or commercialization programs of all mining and mineral resources related programs from 1999 – till date.

Senator Sampson re-emphasized that the solid minerals sector had the potentials of generating huge revenue for the country, but bemoaned however, that the industry was still being bedeviled by unwholesome activities of some of its operators.

The Committee Chairman decried the recent Ibadan explosion which he said, was caused by irresponsible and illegal mining behavior. The Committee highlighted that these disjointed mining operations have become a new cause of insecurity concerns in the country, with threats to loss of lives and property.

Sampson pledged his Committee’s resolve to stamp out illegal mining, and holistically look into the extant Mining Act, with a view to review through proper legislation, in line with best practices.

Senator Sampson equally condemned the behavior of some industry players in the mining sector, who disregard Committee’s invitations, with some even threatening legal actions, once they were invited for interactions. He warned that the Senate will not be fettered in its investigations, despite petitions by some of these operators.

The Akwa Ibom South Senator hinted on plans to hold regular roundtable discussions with relevant agencies, experts, industry players, artisanal miners and other stakeholders to further compare notes on how best to reposition operations in the sector.

Other members of the Committee including Vice Chairman, Senator Mustapha Khabeeb, Senator Aminu Tambuwwal, Senator Onawo Ogoshi, Senator Diket Plang, and others who spoke, offered their insights on ways to further reposition the nation’s solid minerals sector for greater efficiency and pledged to work with the Committee Chairman to attain the set objectives.