…Seeks Collaboration with AKSG
Government both at the State and Federal Government levels lose large chunk of internally generated revenue from mining on an annual basis, the Miners Association of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom State Chapter had disclosed.
The Association during a Media briefing with select Journalists in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Sunday, 30th July, 2023 attributed these losses to illegal mining activities performed in the State and the Nation at large.
Chairman of the Association, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Mr Iyakise Udofia said “these illegal mining activities have resulted in significant revenue losses to both the federal and state governments.
“As you are aware, the mining sector contributes to our economy, and the state government is entitled to a fair share of the revenue derived from mining operations. The lost revenue affects our ability to fund critical developmental projects and provide essential services to our citizens”, Udofia lamented.
According to the Chairman, the illegal mining and loss of substantial revenue could be curbed through collaboration with the Akwa Ibom State Government.
“We believe that cooperation between the Miners Association and the government is paramount in addressing these challenges effectively. We are open to dialogue and working together towards finding viable solutions that protect our environment, boost revenue generation, and foster the sustainable development of our State”.
Iyakise Udofia also solicited for partnership with the traditional rulers, at the same time calling for adherence to the rule of law, still in a bit to stop illegal mining which results in environmental degradation and damage.
“We take this opportunity to appeal to all traditional rulers in Akwa Ibom State to seek guidance from the relevant ministry responsible for mining matters. It is imperative that traditional rulers work in accordance with the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act of 2007 and its Regulation of 2011.
“These laws provide the framework for responsible and sustainable mining practices while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders, including local communities.
“We urge all traditional rulers to refrain from interfering with mining operations or obstructing the activities of legitimate mining companies. Collaborating with mining companies in adherence to the law can bring about immense socio-economic benefits for our communities. Let us work together to create an environment that encourages responsible mining practices while respecting the rights and interests of all parties involved”.
On the issue of illegal mining, the Chairman said, “it is with grave concern that we bring to the Governor’s notice and the general public the rampant operations of illegal miners in our state. These illegal mining activities have caused serious environmental degradation, leading to irreparable harm to our natural resources. The ecological balance is at stake, and urgent action is needed to address this pressing issue”.
Speaking on steps to address this menace, Iyakise Udofia reiterated that “let it be known that the Miners Association of Nigeria Akwa Ibom Chapter will not condone or protect any form of illegality within our ranks. We stand committed to working in tandem with government authorities to eradicate illegal mining practices and promote responsible and sustainable mining in the state”.
He thus appealed to members of the Association and the public to comply to the Mining Act of 2007 and its regulations in all mining operations.
“We must ensure that our mining activities are conducted within the confines of the law and with a strong sense of responsibility towards the environment and our community. By upholding the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act of 2007 and it’s Regulation of 2011, we can build a sustainable and prosperous mining industry that benefits all of Akwa Ibom State”.
Meanwhile, the Association had decried the incessant interference by Surv. Abubakar M. Wathanafa and the National Inland Waterways Authority, which has constantly led to the destruction of equipment and multiple taxation of members of the Association.
Mr Udofia disclosed that the Association had filed a motion on notice seeking an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the duo from further interfering with, invading the premises or obstructing the operations of the plaintiffs/applicants (Zealand Integrated Service Ltd and the Miners Association of Nigeria) or demanding any payment from them, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
He hinted that “the court had granted the injunction, finding that they had shown a prima facie case and that there was a likelihood of irreparable harm if the injunction was not granted. The court also found that the balance of convenience favored the granting of the injunction.
He pledged the Association’s commitment to “continue to vigorously pursue our legal claims against the defendants/respondents. We are confident that they will ultimately be successful in our quest to vindicate their rights and protect miners’ interests”.
Meanwhile, the Association has appreciated the State Commissioner of Police, Olatoye Durosinmi for maintaining law and order in the mining field, appealing for more security from other agencies especially the Immigration authorities in checking those coming into the country and state to carry out illegal activities.