The Kebbi government on Friday announced the suspension of mining activities across the state to curb security challenges bedeviling the state.
Briefing journalists in his office in Birnin Kebbi, the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Yakubu Bala-Tafida, said the decision was in line with recent heightened security challenges in localities with mining sites.
He also said a lack of verifiable evidence of corporate social responsibilities by miners occasioned the suspension.
“Also, there is total absence of accrued revenue in the names of ecological tax and development levy for state and local government, respectively. Significant number of miners do not possess requisite permits from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Minerals 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,” he said.
According to him, the government is not unaware 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.
Mr Bala-Tafida noted that the state government believed that it was of utmost importance to prioritise 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 unauthorised foreigners and non-indigenes of questionable character.
“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,” he noted.
The SSG reiterated the government’s commitment to addressing the concerns through comprehensive evaluation and enforcement of strict regulations.
He recalled that the present administration in the state had invested huge resources to improve the security situation and promised to consolidate 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.
While acceding that the suspension might have a temporary setback on mining activities, the SSG assured all stakeholders of the government’s commitment to resolve the underlying infractions and create a safe and conducive environment for mining activities to resume.