Federal Government is to prosecute foreign illegal miners apprehended in Zamfara and Osun states to serve as deterrent to others.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite made this known at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja.
Mr. Adegbite commended the effort of the state governments for arresting the culprits and promised that government would go tough on violators of mining operation in Nigeria.
“The States have helped us, but this is just the first part we have not been able to prosecute any illegal miner successful in Nigeria, there have been pressure on the state governments that the people should be released, especially in Osun because most of them are working for Nigerians in high places, Nigerians in authority; but the Osun State Government has resisted. We are taking them to the Federal High Court the case is been complied so we can arraigned them in court”
The Minister hinted that the Ministry would work with the Nigerian Custom Service, Ministry of Interior and Foreign affairs to curb the trend of illegal mining operations in the country.
“We know that the Gold leaving this country has one major destination and that is United Arab Emirate, a further diplomatic effort would be taken in this direction by the time the lock-down is lifted in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get the Dubai Authority to ascertain that the Gold coming from Nigeria have export certificate”
The Nigerian Mining industry had long been plagued with illegality resulting to the nation losing hugely in the sector and contributing less to the nations GDP.
Zamfara and Osun states which have huge deposits of gold have been associated with illegal activities, recently about 27 illegal miners were arrested in Osun state of which 17 were Chinese national and 10 indigenes. While 2 Chinese illegal miners were also apprehended in Zamfara state.