FG urge New Marshals to Fish out Illegal Miners

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The Federal Government, via the Ministry of Solid Development Minerals, has engaged 2,220 security personnel to crack down on illegal miners and enforce the nation’s mining laws within a new security framework.

It also mandated the new operatives to halt theft and all unlawful activities around the nation's mineral resources to allow the nation to fully benefit from its natural resources.

Dele Alake, the Minister of Solid Mineral Development, delivered this charge upon receiving the specially trained officers from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, known as the “Mining Marshal Corps,” at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.

Two months after President Bola Tinubu established an inter-ministerial committee led by the Solid Minerals minister, this latest development involves deliberating on modalities to produce a blueprint for securing the country’s natural resources, including solid minerals, forests, and marine economy.

The mining marshals will have their command and control in the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, with 60 operatives first deployed in each state of the federation and the FCT, where the command structure is spread across.

To counter illegal mining and smuggling of solid minerals from Nigeria, the official reception of the marshals will ensure security at mining sites, eliminate illegality, and sanitise mining environments. He described this as a major success in his seven-point agenda.

He added that the mining marshals, planned to be an inter-agency security group, will encompass special operatives from other security agencies such as the Nigeria Police, army, and similar entities.

During the event, Alake emphasized that Insecurity has plagued the mineral sector of this economy, along with other variables, leading to reduced revenue generation. Among other things, addressing insecurity in this sector is extremely important for us to achieve any success.

He also pointed out that without the security of the operating environment in the mineral sector, increasing the revenue yield is out of the question.

NSCDC Commandant-General, Abubakar Audi, mentioned that the new mining marshals would enhance the corps' mandate of safeguarding national assets and infrastructure, with solid minerals being a significant part of it.

Audi disclosed that the marshals would collaborate with the mines inspectorate in states to gather intelligence and will be under the direct operational command of the solid minerals minister for the effective execution of its mandate.

The Chairman, House Committee on Solid Minerals, Hon Jonathan Gbefwi, who attended the event, expressed his satisfaction with the new security outfit, emphasizing that enhanced security in mining areas will propel Nigeria's economic growth.

The new Mines Marshal, headed by Commander, Chief Superintendent of Corps, CSC Attah John Onoja.

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