Senate calls for regulation of mining operation in states  

THE Nigerian Senate has called for legislative action against illegal mining activities spread across the country by developing a national legal framework.

The resolution was made during the Senate plenary session on Wednesday after Ya’u Sahabi, Senator representing Zamfara North, presented a report on the illegal mining activities across the country.

While speaking on the matter, Senate President Ahmed Lawan said the legislators need to “seriously” look into the solid mineral sector.  He added that the upper legislative should be at the vanguard of renewing the situation of the solid minerals and ensure the sector contributes to the national development.

“We will call a round table of stakeholder which I would chair so we can protect our resources rather than continuing to lament on how foreign nationals are illegally mining our resources,” said Lawan.

As illegal mining increases the rate of lead poisoning, Adamu Aliero, Senator representing Kebbi Central, noted that the issue of lead poisoning should be taken with much importance.  “It is happening virtually in all states where illegal mining takes place,” he said.

The Senate thus called on the Federal Government to clean up the affected areas of the lead poisoning in Zamfara State, Plateau state, Niger state and other states.

“Senate resolves to call on the Federal Government and other stakeholders to develop a national legal framework in response to illegal artisanal mining,” it added.

There have been several reported cases of illegal mining activities in Nigeria where both nationals and foreigners engage in the business.

Scores of Artisanal Miners at Odubale mining site, a distance away into the thick forest of Ifewara, Osun State. Photo credit: Gbenga Adanikin/ICIR in July 2019.

Studies show that illegal mining is capable of destroying the ecosystem and causes terminal diseases such as cancer, respiratory failure and untimely death of workers and residents around the mining communities.

Series of investigations conducted by The ICIR on illegal mining of the country’s solid minerals revealed that many health and environmental hazards are linked to artisanal mining.

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