Benue Operators meet Solid Devt Minister over allegations of illegal mining

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By Palma Ileye

Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake has vowed to ensure thorough investigation of alleged illegal mining in Benue State, asserting that those found culpable will face the full wrath of the law.

Alake in a press release issued by Segun Tomori, Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Solid Minerals Development spoke in his office on Friday after listening to submissions from representatives of the affected mining operators and relevant Mines Inspectorate Officials from the State.

It will be recalled that some weeks ago, a video of 15 trucks laden with minerals alleged to be uranium and extracted from Kwande Local Government, Benue State, went viral.

Following that incident, the Minister ordered discreet investigations by the Mines Inspectorate, which indicated that the video was the result of inter-firm rivalry over control of mining areas.

This prompted him to summon relevant stakeholders from the State to get the true picture of the situation.

After listening to all submissions, the Minister noted discrepancies in the account divulged by representatives of the communities, the operators and mines Inspectorate officials, vowing to ensure painstaking investigations and bring to book those that might have run foul of the law.

“I have listened to all submissions and noted discrepancies in presentations by operators and stakeholders. We will thoroughly investigate all issues related to the incident and any operator found culpable will have their licenses revoked, if some of our officials also connived to perpetrate sharp practices, they will also be made to face the full weight of the law,” Alake added.