Miners seek federal intervention as Lagos moves to control operations
Laterite and wet sand miners have cried out to the Supreme Court for a speedy resolution of the pending case between the federal and the Lagos governments over the right and control of mining resources in the state.
This comes as the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has restated its right over all kinds of mining nationwide, stating that the constitution placed it under the exclusive list and that no state or individual has power to shut down or regulate mining operations.
Speaking in Lagos at a stakeholders’ forum, the Federal Mines Officer, Mr. Gbenga Ajayi, urged the operators to collaborate with the ministry by getting their documents, including valid mining/quarry licences or leases, and paying their monthly royalties, calculated at N40 per tonne, at when due.
Noting that not more than 10 firms have valid documents, Ajayi stated that legal operations would protect the environment, create employment and grow community relations, just as operators could only access government’s N50 billion in the Bank of Industry (BOI) for business development if they are in possession of valid papers.
Also, an Assistant Director at the Lagos Office, Mrs. Odeniyi Oyekunbi, tasked the operators on environment-friendly mining, stating that the ministry would soon begin document verification. She listed the required documents as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Community Development Agreement and Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation Programme (EPRP).
However, the dredgers have lamented the burden of multiple taxation as council, state and federal officials claim right over their operations, with the latest assault being the state’s notice to laterite miners to cease operation by end of April.
Urging the Federal Government to resolve the pending issues, the Secretary of Dagbolu Laterite Quarry Miners Association of Lagos State, Mr. Nojeem Disu, regretted that by being less present in the field, the ministry had allowed Lagos State to usurp its powers.
Allaying their fears, Ajayi asked them to forward their petition with operating documents to the ministry to forestall the threat, while the royal fathers urged both levels of government to resolve the issue in the interest of the operators and the nation at large.
Stating that they were not at the forum to condemn the state government, the Adeboruwa of Igbogbo Kingdom, Oba Abdulsemiu Orimadegun, urged the operators to relate better with their monarchs through corporate social responsibility rather than wait for crisis period to seek their intervention.
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