President Muhammadu Buhari warned yesterday that the federal government will no longer tolerate the activities of illegal miners in the country.
According to him, the mines and steel sector is very important for the diversification of the economy, and as such it cannot be left in the hands of illegal miners who carry out improper activities and inhibit the growth of Nigeria’s solid minerals sector.
Buhari handed down the warning when top officials of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, led by the permanent secretary, Baba Umar Farouk, briefed him on the state of affairs of the ministry.
He expressed displeasure at Mr. Farouk’s report that the sector had been overrun by illegal miners.
“This is one of the most demoralizing briefs I have received,” the president said. “The biggest threat to this country, besides Boko Haram, is unemployment, and the mining sector is key to employment creation.
“We cannot be held back on such a strategic industry that can give us much needed jobs and promote economic growth. There must be more seriousness in running this country and we are determined to instil that seriousness.”
The permanent secretary had informed the president that Nigeria’s mining sector had been infiltrated by “illegal aliens” who carry out unlawful mining activities in the country.