Kwara Government Commends EFCC on Fight against Illegal Mining
Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin
The Kwara State Commissioner for Solid Minerals Development, Adenike Harriet Afolabi-Oshatimehin, has commended the efforts of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in checking the activities of illegal miners and non-payment of royalties to the Federal Government.
She gave the commendation while on a Solidarity Visit to the Ilorin Zonal Command of the commission.
Commenting on efforts of the EFCC in curbing the menace, the Commissioner said: “Governor Abdulrasaq Abdulrahman is happy with what the EFCC is doing. We are so happy with what you are doing. And, we are here to let you know that the Kwara state government is solidly behind you. The governor is determined to give you all the needed support to sanitise the mining sector.
“Solid minerals is what brought us here. Kwara state is one of the states of the Federation blessed with large quantities of varieties of solid minerals ranging from gold, lithium, precious metals, tantalite, columbite, dolomite and kaolin among others,” she said.
While expressing hopes that if solid mineral deposits in the state are properly harnessed, they could sustain individual, state and national economy, she decried the enormous resources the state government is losing to illegal miners “who mine without any license and or those who mine without paying due royalties to government.”
She disclosed that, owing to the attention being paid to solid minerals, Kwara state has been named among Mineral Producing States by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel development. “I was very delighted to hear that the EFCC is not just looking at the illegal miners, but even the licensed miners that are under paying royalties, which action is tantamount to royalty evasion,“ she said.
She described the EFCC as the foremost anti-graft agency in Nigeria, which intervention in the mining sector came at the right time. To this end, the Commissioner promised to work in partnership with the Commission, in its bid to curb activities of illegal miners and non-payment of royalties by operators in the state.
Ilorin Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Michael Nzekwe, pointed out that, “the Commission, in fulfilment of its mandate, as specified by the EFCC Act, 2004 has enforcement powers and equally empowered to take measures to prevent the commission of economic crimes, which include economic sabotage and royalty evasion as in this case.”
He stressed the need for enhanced collaboration between the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development and other stakeholders as key to sanitizing the mining sector in the state.