The Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) has protested against the ban on mining activities proposed by the National Security Council as a way to check insecurity in the country, according to the Vanguard.
A statement signed by MAN’s National Ag President, Musa Muhammad, National Secretary, Dele Ayanleke, and National Publicity Secretary, Tope Adebanjo said the move would be counterproductive and dangerous to Nigeria’s precarious security situation. Details of the statement are as follows:
“We encourage our security agencies to up their trade in intelligence policing. There are unconfirmed reports from our members in the affected areas, noticing high level movements into the purported banned minefields, including air movements that are not for surveillance mission.
“So, it is advised that security searchlights be beamed on some high profile personnel in the society. The reported dethronement and prosecution of some high ranking traditional rulers in recent time should serve as enough pointer to this piece of advice.
“Militancy, kidnappings, killings, illegal bunkering, unorthodox refinery and all forms of criminalities have been the hallmarks of the oil and gas sector for ages. Yet, not for once did we hear the Government making any attempt at banning drilling activities.
“We hereby call on the Government and all security agencies to deploy the same security measures being employed in the oil and gas sector to the solid minerals sector and save the entire mining industry and its operators from incessant stigmatization and embarrassment.
“The policy of 100 per cent ownership of mining assets by foreign nationals should be urgently reviewed.
“Experience has shown that foreigners are the major targets of the kidnappers and their presence in mining locations is a major incentive to the increasing rate of kidnappings and killings around mining sites; as these criminals are always ready to waste as many lives as can be identified as obstacles to their targets. The Shiroro massacre also comes handy to illustrate this point.
“We want to reiterate our stand that any policy to further ban mining activities in Nigeria will be counterproductive and capable of further worsening the already worse security situation in the country.”
“The rate at which Chinese Nationals flood our minefields these days, looking for every ounce of lithium is very alarming. The issue of Chinese and Lithium is an issue for another day which we intend to take up with the Government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
“We recommend that the movements of foreign nationals be restricted to urban centers, at least through this period of security emergency. Partnership with indigenous players should be encouraged and strengthened to oversee their joint investments.”