The Kebbi Government on Friday announced a suspension of mining activities across the state as a measure to curb security challenges bedeviling the state.
Briefing newsmen in his office in Birnin Kebbi, the Secretary to State Government (SSG) Alhaji Yakubu Bala-Tafida said the decision was in line with recent heightened security challenges in localities with mining sites in the state.
He also said the suspension was occasioned by a lack of verifiable evidence of corporate social responsibilities on the part of miners.
“Also there is a total absence of acruable revenue in the names of ecological tax and development levy for state and local government respectively. A significant number of miners do not possess the requisite permit by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Mineral and have an observable environmental impact.
“For these reasons, the government of Kebbi under the able leadership of Dr Nasir Idris has made a difficult but enviable decision to suspend all mining activities until further notice. “This suspension is a precautionary measure aimed at ensuring the safety of both mining workers and local communities,” he said.
According to him, the government is not unmindful of the fact that mining is under the Exclusive Legislative List, yet, the decision for the suspension was made after a thorough assessment of the current security situation in the mining sites.
The SSG added that the situation had raised serious concerns about the safety of those involved in the industries.
This, he said, was coupled with the apparent lack of verifiable signs of corporate social responsibility in the midst of a complete lack of revenue generation.
Bala-Tafida noted that the state government believed that it was of utmost importance to prioritize the protection and security of its residents and to safeguard against converting the mining fields as a veritable platform for breeding criminals and criminalities by unauthorized foreigners and non-indigenes of questionable character.
“This scenario has manifested itself in other neighboring states which we want to avert.
“It is significant to specially note that, the Kebbi government is not officially aware of the presence of the self-acclaimed mining licensed holders and artisanal miners operating in our minefields nor is it deriving revenue from their mining activities.
“These are indeed, fundamental infractions,” he noted.
The SSG reiterated the government’s commitment to address the concerns through comprehensive evaluation and enforcement of strict regulations.
He said this would seek to promote responsible mining, safeguard the environment, enhance revenue generation, and more importantly, as an effective proactive security measure.
He recalled that the present administration in the state had invested huge resources to improve the security situation across the state and promised to consolidate on the gains of such investment.
He, however, noted with dismay that none of the supposedly titled holders had any arrangement with the host community on the issue of community development agreement.
He said that this was because such agreement entailed that the developers would be required to undertake certain developmental projects in the socio-economic contribution geared toward the sustainability of such a community.
While acceding that the suspension might have a temporary setback on mining activities, the SSG, however, assured all stakeholders of government commitment to resolve the underlying infractions and create a safe and conducive environment for mining activities to resume. (NAN)