The Senate in Nigeria is set to begin a three-day public hearing on illegal mining and gold smuggling and the attendant losses of about US $9 billion yearly.
The hearing follows a motion moved by Abia North Senator and Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu. Former Nasarawa Governor and Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Tanko Al-Makura, will preside over the legislative activity.
According to a notice signed by Al-Makura, the committee extended invitations to state governors; Central Bank of Nigeria; ministers of Mines and Steel Development; Finance and Budget; Mines and Steel Development; DGs/CEOs of parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development; Executive Secretary NEITI; Nigeria Labour Congress, Nigeria Immigration, among others.
Resolution to investigate
The senate at its plenary last year had passed a resolution to investigate the losses from illegal mining activities. It would during the hearing grill major government and non-governmental stakeholders in the mining sector over the prevalence of clandestine activities of illegal miners.
Kalu in his motion, disclosed that Nigeria lost an estimated US $54 billion from 2012 to 2018 due to illegal smuggling of gold. He also said the country was losing about US $9billion yearly to illegal mining and gold exportation. He further lamented the activities of unlicensed miners and incessant smuggling of the solid minerals out of the country by middlemen given the huge revenue losses.
The former Abia governor said gold mining operations in Nigeria was capable of providing no fewer than 250,000 jobs and over US $500 million dollars annually in royalties and taxes to the Federal Government.
Other matters scheduled for the three day public hearing include bills on Nigerian Minerals Development Corporation (Establishment) Bill 2021 (SB.505; Solid Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2021 (SB.713); and Institute of Bitumen Management (Establishment) Bill 2021 (SB.663).