Federal government on Tuesday warned illegal miners across the country to desist from their nefarious activities and perfect their mining titles or risk being jailed for a minimum of two years without any option of fine.
The minister of state for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Ogah, gave the warning while addressing stakeholders at a meeting held yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.
Ogah emphatically declared that federal government is already working on a law that will establish zonal courts where offenders caught without necessary mining approval from the federal government will be tried and jail without an option of fine.
He explained that the stringent conditions attached to the law becomes inevitable owing to fact that federal government is working towards using the nation’s mining sector to diversify the economy, mitigate the country’s unemployment rates and also lift over 100 million citizens out of poverty.
Ogah also assured that federal government is working on evolving a synergy between officials of the Federal Ministry of Mines, the State Executives as well as other stakeholders to eliminate some bottlenecks in the area of levies so that that can all do better for the country so that government can use the resources to develop Nigeria.
“We want Nigeria to be a mining destination because we want to use this ministry as a key for the diversification of the economy of this country to create employment for the teeming Nigerian youths.
“Mining is key towards the industrialisation of this nation. The fourth industrial revolution can only be by the way of mining and Nigeria is blessed with over 44 mineral resources. That is why we are devoting our time on the way forward to develop this sector.
“As you can see, within a short time, we have come up with a lot of policies to encourage local miners. We are coming up with a policy called ” Downstream Policy” that you cannot take away any ore”.