As activities of illegal miners of solid minerals continue to drain the national resources in the country, governments at various levels especially states and Federal Government, FG, have been urged to effectively regulate the sector by putting tougher measures in place to check unwholesome practices by unscrupulous elements, noting that the trends have over the years led to drains in large chunk of Internally Generated Revenues (IGRs).
The Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, Akwa Ibom state chapter at a press conference in Uyo, the state capital, noted that the illegal exploration and exploitation of solid minerals with the proceeds unaccounted for, has become a national sabotage and big embarrassment to the country.
Chairman of the state chapter of MAN, Comrade Iyakise Udofia, lamented that “these illegal mining activities have resulted in significant revenue losses to both the federal and state governments.”
He said: “As you are aware, the mining sector contributes to our national economy, and the state government is entitled to a fair share of the revenue derived from mining operations. The lost revenues affect our ability to fund critical developmental projects and provide essential services to our citizens.
“We believe that cooperation between the Miners Association and the government is paramount in addressing these challenges effectively. We are open to dialogue and working together towards finding viable solutions that protect our environment, boost revenue generation, and foster the sustainable development of our state.
“We take this opportunity to appeal to all traditional rulers in Akwa Ibom State to seek guidance from the relevant ministry responsible for mining matters. It is imperative that traditional rulers work in accordance with the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act of 2007 and its Regulation of 2011.
“These laws provide the framework for responsible and sustainable mining practices while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders, including local communities.
“We urge all traditional rulers to refrain from interfering with mining operations or obstructing the activities of legitimate mining companies. Collaborating with mining companies in adherence to the law can bring about immense socio-economic benefits for our communities. Let us work together to create an environment that encourages responsible mining practices while respecting the rights and interests of all parties involved.
“It is with grave concern that we bring to the Governor’s notice and the general public the rampant operations of illegal miners in our state. These illegal mining activities have caused serious environmental degradation, leading to irreparable harm to our natural resources. The ecological balance is at stake, and urgent action is needed to address this pressing issue.”
Towards effective regulation of the illegal mining activities, Udofia expressed the readiness of his association to work in partnership with governments and other stakeholders to weed out the illegal syndicate in their midst that in order “to promote responsible and sustainable mining in the state.”
He appealed to members and the general public to comply with the Mining Act of 2007 and its regulations in all mining operations.
“We must ensure that our mining activities are conducted within the confines of the law and with a strong sense of responsibility towards the environment and our community. By upholding the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act of 2007 and it’s Regulation of 2011, we can build a sustainable and prosperous mining industry that benefits all of Akwa Ibom State,” he stressed.