• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Reject enticing gifts from illegal miners, C’River govt urges local chief

Reject enticing gifts from illegal miners, C’River govt urges local chief

Cross River State has cautioned local chiefs, traditional leaders as well as custodians of lands not to accept mouthwatering offers from illicit miners .

The government has warned that the local Chiefs must report such activities to the authorities.

In collaboration with the Chairman of the Mineral Resources and Environmental Committee (MIREMCO), state government officials have extended advocacy campaigns to rural communities to dissuade community leaders and youths from accepting overtures from illegal miners.

Read also: Miners foil rape attempt, rescue pregnant woman in Plateau

It would be recalled that illegal miners have invaded the restricted Cross River National Park and several other communities in different local government areas of the state where gold and other precious stones are identified with armed militias.

Last year, public protest forced the Cadastral Office of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to withdraw two licences they ‘mistakenly’ issued to two mining firms from northern Nigeria to mine inside the Cross River National Park.

In a statement signed by Mr Gill Nsa, chief press secretary to Governor Bassey Otu, the state government said they have drawn the red line on illicit mining in the state.

The statement said it was necessary to descend harder on illegal miners who they said have plundered forest resources to the detriment of the state.

“This is to protect the over 34 precious minerals identified in different parts of the state. Many of these solid minerals are found in commercial quantities. These include uranium, iron ore, manganese, tourmaline, barites, marbles, galena and sphalerite, coal, kaolin, sulphite, rutile, and new limestone deposits.

The government has warned that illegal mining contravenes federal mining laws

The government highlighted the severe consequences on agricultural land, water sources, and public health due to illicit mining expressing deep concern over the exploitation of local youth in dangerous mining activities, often leading to injuries or fatalities without any form of compensation.

The statement disclosed that in cooperation with the federal government, will prosecute offenders.

Quoting the Commissioner for Mineral Resources in the state, Mr Effiom-Ekaha Otu, the government wants to block illicit miners while maximizing the state revenues generated from legal mining operations and allocate them towards infrastructure development and socio-economic progress.

He assured that legal mining operations, on the other hand, would benefit both the state and local communities by adhering to proper regulations and ensuring fair compensation.
Engr. Ibem Uduma from the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development encouraged communities to ensure that mining agreements are transparent and involve key stakeholders, including security personnel and government officials.

Read also: Mining marshals crack down on illegal miners, impound 10 trucks

Advising local Chiefs, Chairman of MIREMCO, Dr Otu Archibong, stressed the importance of verifying government approvals for any mineral exploration.

He outlined the requisite legal procedures, such as environmental and social impact assessments, licensing, and rehabilitation plans.

Community leaders and youth representatives expressed their support for the government’s initiatives and pledged cooperation to combat illicit mining.

They also appealed to the government to create employment opportunities to alleviate economic pressures driving illicit mining activities.

The state government’s initiative aims to regularize mining operations, safeguard the environment, and substantially increase revenue from legal mining activities as the additional revenue will be channelled towards enhancing the state’s infrastructure and fostering socio-economic development.

Last week, Governor Otu visited the Minister for Solid Minerals Development, Mr Dele Alake in Abuja, revealing that they were on the verge of establishing a mining company, having applied for a license as a limited liability company.