Miners, under the auspices of the Miners Association of Nigeria, have said that the ban on mining activities by some state governments is illegal.

According to the miners during a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, the ban was an abuse of the Mining Act 2007 and Mining Regulations 2011.

The National President, MAN, Dele Ayanleke, also expressed displeasure over the alleged invasion and jailing of the registered mining company’s staff by the Taraba State Government’s task force.

Ayanleke said, “While we appreciate the ambitions of the new leaderships in our various states to accelerate socioeconomic development, leveraging on the nature’s endowments within their domains, it is of no less importance to pursue these ambitions within all extant constitutional and legal frameworks in order not to breed anarchy and constitutional crisis that may render their efforts and those of the national government unproductive.

“Not quite long after the swearing-in of the new governors, that the mining industry started witnessing an avalanche of Executive Orders, banning mining activities in some states like Ebonyi, Osun, Enugu, Cross River, Taraba and others.

“Taraba State Government went as far as setting up a task force on illegal mining and deforestation with full authority to arrest, summarily prosecute and sentence anyone found culpable under its own laws.”

He decried the harassment and arrest of legal miners by the state government’s task forces, adding that only the Federal Government had oversight over mining and mineral-related issues in the country.

The MAN president said, “A situation where a group of stakeholders is being stigmatised as the perpetrators of illegality by the holders of coercive machinery of state, is totally unacceptable.

“Section 44(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and section 1(1) of the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act (NMMA), 2007, place the ownership of mineral resources and mining regulations in Exclusive Legislative List with enough provisions to address the socioeconomic and environmental concerns of the lower tiers of government.

“By the various provisions of the above instruments, the Federal Government, through its appropriate agencies, is saddled with the oversight responsibility on any mining and minerals related issues; including, but not limited to, mining titles administration.”

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