Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
A United States based lawyer and chartered accountant, Chief Owolabi Salis, has called on the Federal Government to be more decisive on the activities of illegal miners in the country.
This is just as he said many Nigerians are not aware that illegal miners especially foreigners in collaboration with some bad eggs in the country are responsible for over 60 to 65 per cent of the insecurity confronting the nation.
The gubernatorial candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Lagos State in 2019, while speaking with journalists in Ibadan, said the illegal miners often instigate, fund and orchestrate communal clash(es) to displace people from their land to get illegal access to natural resources.
Salis who faulted the Federal Government’s 30-day ultimatum to illegal miners in the country, said joining a miners association would not bring solution to the activities of illegal miners in Nigeria.
According to him, “Nigeria is losing billions of dollars every year owing to government’s negligence of the mining sector. Several factors are bedeviling the mining industry, two of them are illegal mining and smuggling of precious gems, aquatic animals, wild animals and others out of Nigeria. The authority has not controlled the issue of mining which is also creating a security threat.
“Most of these illegal miners operate without government’s approval and they are masterminded by foreigners in collaboration with local lords.
“The foreign illegal miners are the ones funding insurgency to displace people from their communities, to gain access to carry out the illegal mining. They will invade the village to displace innocent people especially where they discover valuables and raw materials. All these international criminals are at the forefront and the Nigerian authority does not pay attention to it.”
Salis also urged the government to inculcate mining into the nation’s education curriculum, noting that this would teach and enlighten younger Nigerians about the gains in the mining sector.
“Mining education should be introduced in primary and secondary schools and of course the tertiary institutions. Mining is key to transforming the earth to usefulness to people. Countries that are proficient in mining train their kids in the area and also make it compulsory”, he said.
He added that President Bola Tinubu should pay more attention to mining, lamenting that one of the problems of leadership in Africa is not paying attention to how to transform natural resources to human use for valuable use and this not only limited to solid minerals but include precious gems in the ocean.
He then urged the federal government to enact more laws that against illegal mining in the country.