The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, has disclosed that some powerful individuals in Nigeria are implicated in the illegal mining and funding of banditry. Speaking during the defense of the Ministry’s 2024 budget estimate before the House Committee on Solid Minerals, Alake highlighted the connection between influential figures and the insecurity prevalent in regions with significant solid mineral deposits.
He also said the government was identifying those individuals and will take appropriate action against them as part of efforts to ensure that the areas are secured for investors who have shown interest in investing in the solid minerals sector in the country.
“One discovery that we have made is that a lot of these insecurities and banditry associated with this sector are sponsored by illegal miners.
“These are not your artisan miners. They are not the people who pick gold on the ground. These are heavy and powerful individuals in our country. They are Nigerians and not foreigners.
“Yes, you can see foreigners as symptoms, but they are not the basics. Nigerians are the powers behind those foreigners that you see on the streets. We are identifying them and employing various strategies, both kinetic and non-kinetic.
“The non-kinetic with that artisan miners, I gave them an ultimatum that they should form themselves into cooperatives because every Nigerian has a right to life and necessities and if the government cannot provide these necessities, we cannot push them into the bush.”