The Kwara Government has lauded the efforts of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in checking the activities of illegal miners and non-payment of royalties to the Federal Government from the state.
It said that the Kwara Commissioner for Solid Minerals Development, Harriet Afolabi-Oshatimehin, made this known during a solidarity visit to the Ilorin Zonal Command of the EFCC.
She said Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq was happy with what the EFCC was doing, stressing that the solid mineral deposits in the state, if properly harnessed, would sustain individual, state and national economies.
Afolabi-Oshatimehin expressed dismay over the enormous resources being lost by the state government to illegal miners and those not paying due royalties to government.
She said, “We are so happy with what you are doing and we are here to let you know that the Kwara Government is solidly behind you.
The governor is determined to give you all the needed support to sanitise the mining sector.
“Solid minerals is what brought us here.
Kwara is one of the states of the federation that are blessed with large quantities of varieties of solid minerals ranging from gold, lithium, precious metals, tantalite, columbite, dolomite and kaolin.
“Owing to the attention being paid to solid minerals in the state, Kwara has been named among Mineral Producing States by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
“I was very delighted to hear that the EFCC is not just looking at the illegal miners, but even the licensed miners that are underpaying royalties, an action tantamount to royalty evasion.
The commissioner described the EFCC as the foremost anti-graft agency in Nigeria, whose intervention in the mining sector came at the right time.
The statement further said the EFCC Zonal Commander, Michael Nzekwe, in his response, said the commission was fulfilling its mandate as specified by the EFCC Act, 2004 and therefore had enforcement powers.
Nzekwe said that the need for enhanced collaboration between the ministry and other stakeholders was key to sanitising the mining sector in the state.
“If the collaboration between the stakeholders was strengthened, economic saboteurs and other criminals wreaking havoc on the nation’s economy would have no hiding place,” he said.
He urged every Nigerian to shun corruption and support the anti-graft crusade of the commission.
He warned against any form of economic sabotage, adding that the EFCC would not treat any of such acts with kid gloves.