By Yomi Kareem
Minister of Mines and Steel development, Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite, has called on the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, redouble its efforts in ensuring adequate protection and preservation of mining sites from illegal miners sabotaging Nigeria’s economy.
He made the charge yesterday, during a courtesy visit to the Commandant General of the Corps, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, at NSCDC national headquarters Abuja.
The Minister stated that, no doubt the Corps is contributing very significantly to the actualization of the economic diversification program of government as the nation moves from the over dependence on oil as the mainstay of the economy, to other sectors such as mining and agriculture, which if properly harnessed will benefit everyone through increased local and foreign earnings that will translate to growth and development of the country.
Adegbite cited a notable example of how the Corps was able to dislodge about 19 Chinese illegal miners from Osun State.
The Minister said; “There is a need to protect the nation’s solid minerals from illegal miners to prevent huge economic losses and maximize profits, so far, the NSCDC has performed excellently well in protecting these God-given resources from the hands of wasters and I have come to thank you for doing this great job.”
He affirmed that solid minerals like gold, lead, limestone, diamond, lithium and others are found in large deposits all over the country and there is a need to tap its full potentials to help boost the country’s GDP and hasten development in the country.
In his response, the Commandant General, Dr Ahmed Audi, reassured the Minister that the Corps will not rest on its oars until it puts an end to illegal mining through a renewed onslaught against those he described as the enemies of Nigeria.
Dr Audi further stated that, as the lead agency in the protection of Critical National Assets and Infrastructure in the country, it has placed the sector under watch and warned all illegal and artisanal miners without license to obtain the license or quit the business completely as NSCDC will be coming after them in full force.