The Governor of Niger state, Abubakar Sani Bello has called on the federal government to set up a strong task force to address challenges associated with mining activities in the country.
Also, a control mechanism must be put in place to check activities of miners as both the ministry and state governments are being short-changed by the miners especially in payment of the royalty and Value Added Tax (VAT).
The governor who doubles as chairman of the North Central Governors Forum stated that building strong synergy between the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the state governments will address a lot of irregularities in the mining sector.
The governor said this when he received Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah Samson at the Government House, Minna.; saying that positive results will be achieved when proper synergy is created between the two.
He said the mining sector is supposed to generate more than the oil sector hence the need to get it well positioned.
He stated that as the chairman of the North-Central Governors Forum, he will present the idea at the forum for governors to work closely with the ministry as the zone is the centre of mineral resources.
He decried the insecurity in mining which has become a major threat to communities. However, he said his administration will not hesitate to shut down such mining sites. “I am poised to close down more sites if identified as one used for criminal activities”
He therefore said the ministry should always collaborate with state governments while issuing certificates to miners and also let them know the mining locations as some mining sites put the lives of people and communities in danger.
Speaking earlier, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Ogah Samson said they were in the state to interface with the mining team.
He said he wants to synergize with the state governments so as to scale up the activities of the ministry.