President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday declared that the Federal Government will no longer tolerate illegal mining and other improper activities that had inhibited the growth of Nigeria’s solid minerals sector.
He issued the warning after receiving a briefing from top officials of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development led by the Permanent Secretary, Baba Umar Farouk.
The President, according to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, noted that the mines and steel sector was very important for the diversification of the economy.
Buhari expressed displeasure at Mr. Farouk’s report that the sector had been overrun by illegal miners.
“This is one of the most demoralizing briefs I have received. The biggest threat to this country besides the Boko Haram is unemployment and the mining sector is key to employment creation.
“We cannot be held back on such a strategic industry that can give us much needed jobs and promote economic growth.
“There must be more seriousness in running this country and we are determined to instill that seriousness,’’ the President said.
The Permanent Secretary had told the President that the mining sector has been infiltrated by “illegal aliens” who carry out unlawful activities in the country.
The statement also said that President Buhari directed the Ministry of Environment to undertake a rigorous study of Lake Chad, with a view to bringing up proposals on how best to reverse the shrinking of the lake, which currently serves as a major source of livelihood for many.