The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has warned that the Federal Government will no longer tolerate any act of sabotage on the nation’s economy.
According to him, his ministry was determined to check illegal mining in the country.
He made the disclosure following the recent arrest of eight Chinese nationals in Plateau State for alleged illegal mining.
The National Security Adviser, Ali Monguno, ordered the arrest of the miners at Kampani Zurak village in Bashar chiefdom of Wase Local Government Area of the state.
Also arrested were 12 other Nigerians allegedly involved in illegal mining activities in the area. The 20 illegal miners have been taken into the custody of the police in Jos.
Kayode Fayemi, who was in the company of the NSA to the mining sites, said the foreigners and their accomplices would be taken to Abuja. He also directed an immediate closure of illegal mining sites in Plateau State.
He said the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, had directed that illegal mine sites in the area be sealed up and the miners arrested.
The minister, who described the illegal miners as economic saboteurs, also accused local security operatives of aiding and abetting illegal mining activities in Plateau State.
“It is sad that security operatives are giving them (illegal miners) security cover. If not, why do people guard this site?”
“These miners are illegal. Government did not give them permission to do this, they are economic saboteurs. This cannot happen anywhere else in the world and we will not allow it anywhere in Nigeria. We do not want these miners,” Mr Fayemi told the security agents.
The state governor, Mr Simon Lalong, while addressing the gathering, said government would sanction any traditional ruler found to have connived with the miners to exploit the community.