The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, has made a resounding statement, asserting that state governors do not possess the constitutional power to prohibit mining activities within their jurisdictions. This declaration was made during a press conference held in Abuja ahead of the upcoming 8th annual Nigerian Mining Week, scheduled for October 16-18, 2023.
Dr. Alake emphasized that mining falls exclusively under the jurisdiction of the federal government according to the Nigerian Constitution. He stressed that state governors have no legal authority to enact laws or regulations concerning the operations of solid minerals, drawing a clear parallel with their inability to regulate oil and gas activities.
In his words, Dr. Alake stated, “The state’s ban on mining activities across the court is a point that is really sore. And it’s a constitutional matter. I want to use this opportunity to get to the entire Nigerian public that no state, and I repeat, no state has the authority to interfere in mining operations. No state has the authority, and it’s a no-brainer. It’s a constitutional matter.”
He further clarified, “Mining belongs exclusively in the purview of the federal government, according to the Constitution. It is in the exclusive legislative list. Every item on the exclusive legislative list belongs to the federal government. There is no doubt about that.”
While Dr. Alake made it clear that states can engage in mining operations if they follow due process, he firmly denounced any attempts by states to unilaterally regulate mining activities, likening it to a state trying to ban oil exploration, which he deemed illegal.
To address these issues, the Minister stated that he has engaged with state governors, providing them with education and enlightenment on the constitutional framework governing mining activities. However, he emphasized that no amount of education can supersede the law and the Constitution’s clarity on the matter.
In cases of infringement by miners, Dr. Alake outlined that the appropriate course of action would be to report such incidents to the Mines Officers in the respective state or the Ministry of Solid Minerals.
The President of the Miners Association of Nigeria, ‘Dele Ayanleke, also spoke during the press conference, highlighting the significance of the upcoming Nigerian Mining Week in aligning with President Bola Tinubu’s ‘Renewed Hope’ Agenda and providing hope for Nigerian youth. He underscored the event’s potential to bolster the Nigerian mining sector and stimulate economic growth.
The Nigerian Mining Week, set to take place in Abuja, promises to be a crucial platform for stakeholders in the industry to collaborate, exchange ideas, and explore opportunities that will benefit both the Nigerian mining sector and the nation as a whole.