By Aminu Dalhatu.
Ministry of Solid Minerals Development has sensitised communities and other critical stakeholders in the Southern part of Kaduna State to the dangers of engaging and allowing illegal mining activities in their localities.
The town hall meeting which was organized by the Northwest office of the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development in Kafanchan, Jamaa Local government area, brought some mining stakeholders together from the zone, brainstormed and chat a way forward for effective and sustainable development in the mining sector.
While Presenting a Paper during the Tow hall meeting, the acting Zonal Mines Coordinator of the North West Kaduna, Engineer Kutman Hosea Ali explained
that, the ministry is committed
to enhance collaboration and understanding among all stakeholders by fostering a conducive environment for sustainable mining activities.
Engineer Ali noted that, Southern Kaduna was an emerging mining zone, hence the need for sensitization.
“We are here on behalf of the minister who directed that a meeting of this nature shou6be held in Kaduna and Kafanchan in particular.
“This is because Southern Kaduna is coming up as an active mining zone; it’s active in the sense that lithium, which is becoming a hot cake globally, is found predominantly here”
“That is why we have come to sensitise the communities and the mining companies to their responsibilities to each other,” he stated.
He identified issues of consent, community development agreement, surface rent and environmental impact assessment as major sources of conflict between host communities and mining companies.
“When they give you mining license, before you do anything go and identifying the owners of the land, show your license covers and explain to them all that is needed for proper understanding before proceeding to start mining ‘,he said
Engineer Kutman Ali urged mining companies to ensure they obtained the necessary mining licence and permits before mobilising people to the site.
He enjoined artisanal miners to form a small-scale cooperative licence, to operate legally and enhance their activities.
The Coordinator stressed that, the Ministry remains committed to ensuring that mining activities in Southern Kaduna are carried out responsibly, with utmost consideration for the environment and the welfare of local communities.
Engineer Kutman Hosea also took time to educate all the stakeholders on the roles, responsibilities and panelty metted to all players in the mining chain, as contained in the ministry’s mining acts.
Earlier in his paper presentation, an operative of the Economic and Financial crime commission from Kaduna command, Mr Eric Billy reminded all stakeholders at the Townhall meeting that, illegal Mining is an economic crime that must be reported and offenders must face the consequences of his action.
“People should try and get the requisite license, because there are a lot of them involved in this illegal licensing and when EFCC go after them they will complain of witch hunting only for deeper investigation to reveal they are culpable”,he narrated.
He also cautioned those with the mining license to also operate within the scope of the permission given to them.
Mr Eric Billy also appealed to Royal fathers and community heads to ensure they request for a copy of the mining license from companies and miners that they noticed in their environment.
“Even after verifying the truth of the license and other documents, make sure such individuals and companies provide the necessary preventive kits to protect the community youths that may be engage in the exploration of the minerals “,he concluded.
In his goodwill message, The Chief of Moroa Mr Tagwai Sambo expressed delight with the Townhall meeting Sensitization to the people and promised to always preach peace to his subjects.
Also speaking,the second in command of the Kafanchan police area command CSP Samson Dodo expressed commitment to support the communities ,the companies and federal government by ensuring law and order are maintained in such mining localities.
Monday Barau, who spoke on behalf of mining companies in Kaduna, attributed the poor contribution of the sector to Nigeria’s economy to illegal mining
Mr Barau solicited the support of stakeholders to reposition the mining sector and maximise its potential.
In attendance at the one day Townhall Sensitization meeting are different security personnel,royal fathers,mining companies , community and ocal government representatives , among others.