By Francisca Oluyole
Prof. Olugbenga Okunlola, President of the Geological Society of Africa, (GSAf), has advised the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to strengthen its Mines Inspectorate Division to curb illegal mining activities in the country.
Okunlola gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said that the division, saddled with inspection and monitoring of all mine sites across the country, should be strengthened with adequate vehicles and security personnel to curb illegal mining activities in the country.
He said the 38 vehicles purchased in 2016 by the ministry for the division was grossly inadequate to cover monitoring activities adequately.
According to him, the Customs, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and Police are now collaborating with the ministry to address illegal activities.
He also advised the ministry to clean up its Mining Cadestre Office from all encumbrances investors encountered over issuance of licences from the office to encourage mining investors.
He urged the ministry to create comfortable and enabling environment for investors, in such a manner that it would not change its laws overnight while state governments should not prevent investors from operating on their lands.
He also urged the ministry to generate adequate data to encourage international investors.
“If the ministry can do all of these and put them in place, Nigeria will be a successful mining country.
“No country can have a big mine, if there is no good law, structure, cadestre clean up and control of artisanal mining,”he said.
According to him, South Africa is generating 30 per cent into its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through its mining sector because it is highly organised with perfect laws and adequate mineral data.
” A country like South Africa has got it right because it has perfect laws and adequate mineral data put in place; that is why we have to learn from the country.
While admitting that the Nigeria mining law 2007 was a perfect one, Okunlola urged the ministry to strengthen its implementation to move the sector forward. (NAN)