From: MAGNUS EZE, Abuja
The Federal Government has said that it would adopt some whistle-blowing procedures in curbing the activities of illegal miners across the country.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who disclosed this at a meeting with staff of the ministry, in Abuja, accused two illegal mining companies of taking out minerals worth over N100 billion, in the past few years.
The two companies were recently shut down in Zurak, Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State, where 16 Chinese nationals and eight Nigerians allegedly involved in the illegal escapades were arrested on August 15 on the orders of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), and the Minister when the duo visited some illegal mining sites in the richly endowed lead/zinc belt.
One of the culprits, Alhaji Usman Abubakar (aka Dan China); regarded as the most notorious illegal miner in the State was also declared wanted by the NSA, who ordered all security agencies to arrest him for acts of economic sabotage.
The minister described the activities of the companies as economic terrorism, adding that government was determined to confront anyone or group bent on sabotaging the economy through illegal mining and other means.
He also assured that the ministry would continue to guide and provide both technical and financial supports to genuine artisanal and small scale miners, who play by the rules and regulations guiding the sector.
Daily Sun gathered that the arrested Nigerians and their foreign collaborators had been handed over to the newly inaugurated Mines Division of the Nigeria Police for prosecution.