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EFCC boss, Ola Olukoyede speaks on illegal minning, vows to fight hard



Michael Nzekwe, EFCC Ilorin Zonal Commander

The Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, has vowed to checkmate the activities of illegal miners across the country with a view to grow the economy and reduce the associated risks in the sector.

Olukoyede made this call in Ilorin on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at the 5th Annual Conference of the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development (NCMMRD), with the theme: “Minerals and Metal: A Panacea for Economic Growth and Diversification”.

According to him, “EFCC is a major stakeholder when it comes to the issue of illegal mining.
The Commission has been in the forefront of sanitizing the mining sector in Nigeria. This is done in line with the “Renewed Hope Agenda” of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

The EFCC Chair, who spoke through the Ilorin Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Michael Nzekwe, noted that “illegal mining is not only a threat to our local and national economy, but also constitutes grave danger to the lives of the people.”

He lamented the rate at which resources in Kwara State are being plundered by artisanal miners, noting that “the resources, if channeled through the right sources and put into good use are enough to sustain the economy of the state and make it self-reliant.”

While commending the government of Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq of Kwara State for being supportive in the fight against corruption and illegal mining, Olukoyede called for the support of all stakeholders for the Commission to succeed in the arduous task, warning that the EFCC would not treat any economic saboteur with kid gloves.

In his keynote address at the occasion, the Kwara State Governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq disclosed that his government had recently registered five Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) as part of its measures to acquire viable mining sites and make the state a major producer of solid minerals in Nigeria.

He said each of the 16 local government areas of the state was blessed with abundant viable mineral resources and in commercial quantities, inviting investors to tap into the natural endowments.

“We plan to establish a standard mineral market in the state, where all minerals mined from our State will first be registered here before they are transported to other places”, he said.

The Governor commended the choice of Kwara to host the council, hoping that resolutions reached at the end of the meeting will rev up development in the sector.

Earlier, the State Commissioner for Solid Mineral Development Abdulqowiyu Olododo, said the state government is collaborating with security agencies to ensure the safety of investors within the Kwara borders adding that “a framework is in place to facilitate works in the state without encroaching upon the existing Federal Mining Act.”

In his remarks, the Minister of State for Mines and Steels Development, Alhaji Uba Maigari Ahmadu said that, “steel is the backbone of modern infrastructure and the foundation upon which other sectors thrive, adding that the industry is key for job creation, community empowerment, and diversification of the economy.

“Despite the fact that the sector is facing hurdles ranging from aging infrastructure to an uncertain global market, the challenges are an invitation to innovate, collaborate, and think beyond the ordinary”, he added.

The 3-Day event, which ended on Wednesday attracted participants from all walks of life, including federal parliamentarians, heads of security and law enforcement agencies, members of the Kwara State Executive Council and professionals in the mining sector.

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