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Leading nongovernmental organization (NGO), the Africa Environmental & Economic Peace Mission (AEEPM), has called for the establishment of Nigerian National Mining Corporation (NNMC) that will be run like the Nigerian National Mining Corporation (NNPC) to tame the incessant banditry in key mining states of Zamfara, Plateau, Kogi, Kaduna and others in the solid minerals belt of the federation.
The head of Research in AEEPM, Dr. Moses Undu, who spoke to our correspondent in an interview said, “All these bandits you hear about killing people and destroying properties in state like Zamfara, Kaduna and Plateau are illegal miners who run mines for veiled politically exposed persons (PEPs) in those states”.
“Those PEPs are orchestrating the killings and destructions with weapons exchanged alongside foreign currencies’ when they illegally supply raw mined solid minerals.
“We at AEEPM blame the previous governments and the present for their inability to create a strong controlling agency like NNPC in the oil and gas to harness and monitor the mining activities for the national coffers.
“So far mining operations remains in the hands of hired bandits, it will take time for relative peace to return to the areas.
“Like the oil and gas sector, it has so many agencies monitoring activities. But the question is how many agencies are there for the Nigerian mining industry” None!
“I think this is an area we would like the restructuring campaign to be well thought out. We cannot be denying people of one region access to the natural resources in their domain and allow others free hands to be tapping theirs even with banditry and continue to claim that we are one-Nigeria.
Dr. Undu averred that “Unless NNMC is set up alongside other critical agencies of the government as it is in the oil and gas sector, mining banditry will continue to plague the states and the nation at large.
Business Hilights recalls that few months ago, there was a report in an international media revealing that about $100bn had been starched offshore from the Nigerian solid mineral sector due to government’s weak governance in the sector.
More than three months after the report, the federal government is yet to take action.
Analysts say one of the reasons why the Ajaokuta Steel Complex and other government Steel companies failed to survive because government complications in the continued allowance of illegality in mining solid minerals in parts of the country.
Only recently, continental multilateral financial institution, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) is on the verge of finalising a $100 million (N36.5 billion) investment deal in Nigeria’s mining sector.
Our correspondent gathered that about half of the planned investment into the mining sector is coming by way of debt, equity, and off-take instruments.
The AFC Senior Vice President, Investments, Begna Gebreyes, told journalists in an interview on the sidelines of the Nigerian Mining Week that the institution is a very big supporter of the Nigerian mining sector from inception.
According to Gebreyes, AFC has started investing throughout the continent, adding that the multilateral finance institution was actively desirous of investing in Nigeria.
He said, “AFC is a very big supporter of the Nigerian mining sector from inception. We want to support the Nigerian mining sector from inception. In the last four and half years, we have started making investments throughout the continent, and we’re actively seeking to make investments in Nigeria. “We are very excited that before the end of the year, we will be successful in that endeavor. In this conference, we are spreading our message of interest and openness in the Nigerian mining sector,” he said.
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