Poorly staffed mine offices fuelling illegal mining in Nigeria – Group

The Nigerian Mining Geosciences Society (NMGS) has lamented that poorly staffed mine offices was fuelling illegal mining activities in the country.

Its president, Prof. Akinade Olatunji, said this Friday at a press conference to mark the 255th Council Meeting of the society in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital.

Olatunji said to curb the menace, there was the need for the government to adequately fund the mines offices with qualified staff and logistics to check the activities of illegal mining. 

He called for proper funding of all federal mines offices across the country with logistics vehicles to reach all remote areas where mining activities were being carried out.

“Illegal mining does not take place in the city centres but in the remote areas with very little or no motorable roads and for you to monitor, you need personnel, who are qualified, motivated, energised and well-regulated.

“Federal mines offices are supposed to equipped with vehicles and personnel. They are supposed to have sufficient running cost to do the job, but reverse is the case.

“Most of the mines offices are poorly staffed; in fact, this is one of the biggest problems we have been shouting about; they are poorly staffed.

“For a government to be talking seriously of curbing illegal mining, they need to increase the staff strength of the mining inspectorate units,” he said.

Continuing, he said, “One of the things we are pushing is that the staff in that unit should be treated like those in the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on a separate salary scale.

“As a society, we frowned upon illegal mining because it has denied the nation of revenue, denied our people of jobs and also devastated the environment.”

Olatunji allayed the fears that borehole drilling was the cause of earthquakes, stressing that borehole drilling “does not have any relationships with earthquakes.”