Gov Alia suspends mining activities in Benue  

Gov Alia suspends mining activities in Benue  

By Aloysius Umalo, Makurdi

The Benue State Governor Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia has suspended all mining activities in the State, pending the completion of ongoing data verification exercise billed to ascertain the actual number and status of existing miners. “All mining activities would be placed on hold pending the outcome of the verification.”

Alia announced the suspension while inaugurating the State Chapter of the‘ Initial 60 Mining Marshals’, consisting personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, to curb illegal mining of solid mineral resources across the State.

The Governor who was represented at the occasion by the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Sam Ode, enjoined the Mining Marshals to carry out their functions in conjunction with the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee, MIREMCO among other objectives, by promoting, projecting and defending the interests of the Benue people and the affairs of the State in general, especially as it pertains illegal mining activities and the protection of lives and property. 

He charged the Mining Marshalls to secure Benue’s collective assets in areas of solid minerals, amongst others.

According to the Governor “I recall that the Federal Government had launched the ‘Mining Marshals’ for the NSCDC last month and was expected for all State commands of the Corps through the State Government and MIREMCO to reciprocate same”. 

He said MIREMCO has  the core mandate and responsibilities of projecting the positive image and interest of the Benue Mining Industry nationally and internationally and to support the State to actualise its set objectives and goals in the sector to enhance development. 

“As you all know, some illegal mining sites have been identified and would be manned by the newly created Mining Marshals to curtail the activities of illegal miners. You are also charged with the responsibilities of  destroying illegal refineries and those arrested would face the wrath of the law”, he said. 

The Benue State Governor noted that he had met with members of the Miners Association where he gave directive for the  suspension of all mining activities in the  State until miner’s data was collated by the Mineral Resources and Environment Management Committee, MIREMCO.

“I enjoined the security apparatus, the joint Taskforce on illegal mining, MIREMCO to ensure that the right thing was done to enhance the well-being of the people and increase the Internally Generated Revenue. Until the verification exercise is concluded, all mining activities would be placed on hold pending the outcome of the verification. 

The Governor maintained that Government would not tolerate any form of illegality as it was his administration’s prerogative to protect lives and property of the people.

“Despite the challenges of governance in our dear State, the committee and the NSCDC should not relent in its efforts to combat crimes and criminalities especially as it concerns our state’s rich mineral resources”. 

He charged the Mining Marshalls to ensure modest contributions towards the actualisation of a better Benue that works not only for the people of the State but for the overall development of Nigeria as a country. 

“As you are aware, the challenges of development and transforming a State like Benue, is daunting especially at this time when resources available to constituted authorities for development purposes are dwindling amidst the ever growing dependence and demand for these scarce resources. 

Governor Alia affirmed his commitment to the transformation of Benue State by harnessing the abundant untapped natural resources. 

“What is required at a time such as this is a resourceful and visionary leadership committed to leveraging abundant talents coupled with managing the limited resources to reposition and transform the lives and livelihoods of the people. It is the hallmark of my administration’s blueprint and underpins our 7-point agenda”. 

Earlier, the Chairman of MIREMCO in Benue State and  Commissioner for Justice and Public Order, Barrister Fidelis Mnyim, observed that Governor Alia was not against mining of Mineral Resources but wants to check illegal mining activities.

Barrister Mnyim said, Benue State had come up with a checklist formula which would be used as a pedagogical tool to scrutinise the mining sector in the State.

Benue State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Mr. Yakubu Ibrahim appealed for logistics support from the State Government to enable the Mining Marshalls team succefully carry out the assignment.

In the meantime, the Zonal Coordinator of MIREMCO in North Central Nigeria, Hajiya Annaye Adijetu Usman, promised to cooperate with the State Government to sanitise the mining sector in Benue State.

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