Kwara has highest record of illegal mining – NSCDC

Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin

The town of Kura in Kwara state has been identified as having the highest record of illegal mining in Africa.

The Kwara state Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, Mr Ideba Pedro, says that the community, in Baruten local government, shares a border with Benin Republic, adding that foreigners are facilitating illegal mining in the area, using sophisticated weapons.

Mr Pedro made this disclosure in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, when he received the President of the Kwara Chamber of Commerce, Industry , Mines and Agriculture (KWACCIMA),  Ahmed Raji and his executives, on an advocacy visit to his office.

He said that the country’s economic potentials were being taken to foreign countries.

Pedro added that even though mining activities were the prerogative of the Federal Government, states also had a role to play in this sector.

“We have heard a lot of complaints about illegal mining activities in Kwara State and if the State government or KWACCIMA itself, can harness these economic potentials, it will be good for the people of the state.”

Organized crime

Mr Pedro urged the state government ,KWACCIMA and other authorities concerned to look seriously into the act of unlicensed miners operating in the state particularly in the local government areas that share  borders with neighboring countries.

He said the command had received a lot of cases of illegal mining and miners with sophisticated weapons and announced that even recently, one person was killed at a mining site in the state.

He noted that illegal mining was synonymous with bunkering and vandalism which is also an organized crime and warned that if it was not urgently controlled, it might lead to cases of experiencing casualties.

Speaking on the activities of herdsmen operating in the state, Mr Pedro explained that the corps and various groups such as the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association had met severally, to check the excesses of the herdsmen while a department known as Agro Rangers unit was set up to guard against cattle rustling and monitor the activities of herdsmen.

Mr Pedro also challenged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, to begin the lifting of petroleum products to the depot in Oke Oyi, with assurances that his officers would carry out regular surveillance on all the petroleum pipelines.

The Corp Commandant also announced that in the past eight months, his office had sealed up three factories for involving in illegal activities effected arrests.

Trade fair

Mr Pedro assured KWACCIMA that the corps would partner with the chamber in achieving all their business programmes and pledge to cooperate with them in ensuring a hitch free trade fair, this year in the state.

The president of KWACCIMA, Ahmed Raji commended the corps and solicited for more partnership between the two agencies .

Raji announced that arrangements had made by the chamber to organize a befitting and well attended Trade fair this year, in the state, and called for  the support of various security outfits and the government for the success of the programme.

Speaking on the issue of mining in the state, Raji said it was difficult to identify illegal miners but urged the government to ensure that all miners were registered and mining sites are identified for effective co-ordination.