The Federal government has disclosed plans to create a special police outfit for the sole purpose of combating illegal mining across the country.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Dele Alake disclosed this plan while speaking on the NTA Weekend File on the plans and strategies to be deployed by the federal government to increase the contribution of mining to the economy.
While responding to questions concerning challenges in the mining sector, Mr. Alake said the issue of insecurity will be handled through collaboration with different security agencies and the establishment of a special police outfit for that purpose.
In his words,
- “We found out through intelligence reports that some illegal miners are directly responsible for the upsurge of banditry in several parts of Nigeria.
- That is why I have been working with the various security agencies and the National security adviser, the outfit we are coming up with, and the President is fully in support of this.
- We are going to create a special police outfit. We’ll call it the Mining Police Force or the Mine Police.”
Mr. Alake further noted that the proposed security outfit will not be restricted to the mining sector, but its operation will cover marine and the blue economy.
He explained that the special police force will be controlled by the Ministry of Solid Minerals and its personnel will answer to those in the ministry.
Also, the minister said that the ministry has provided a 60-day grace widow for illegal artisanal miners to organize themselves to become bankable and ensure they pay royalties and taxes to the government.
Investors are to get a mining license within 30 days
When questioned on what it takes for potential investors to get a mining license, he explained that the ministry will overhaul the whole process of application and licensing and make it as easy as possible.
- “That one-stop shop will enable you at a glance to know the processes that you have to go through so that you don’t need to go from one department to the other and be wasting time. It will tell you how to do it, what you should do, the requirements, etc. And the licenses after completing your applications legitimately must not take more than 30 days for it to be issued.”
He harped on the importance of the licensing process and how critical it is to attract investors and promote the ease of doing business.