Tuesday, February 7, 2017 7:19 am
Mr Abdullahi Abbas, Plateau Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals Development, has said that illegal mining was posing “a massive” threat to food security in Plateau.
Abbas disclosed this on Monday in Jos, after a closed door meeting held with traditional heads in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the meeting focused on the menace of illegal mining.
According to him, most lands have been converted to mining fields by illegal miners.
“If left unchecked, in the next 10 years, people will have no lands to grow crops.
“This act is very worrisome. It has lots of ills associated with it but the threat to food security is one we cannot play with.
“In the next 10 years, there will be no land to grow crops and we may have to resort to going to other states to lease lands to grow our crops,” the commissioner lamented.
He said that other consequences included an increase in the number of school dropouts and increase in the consumption of illicit drinks and drugs in a bid to mobilise strength for the act of mining.
The commissioner added that loss of revenue to the state government was also a consequence as the miners were unlicensed.
He said that his meeting with the traditional heads was to sensitise them on the ills of their youths engaging in the act of illegal mining and to rub minds with them on the way forward.
“We expect these leaders to sensitise their various communities and encourage those who wanted to be miners to go about it rightfully, by obtaining a license.”
He pointed out that solid minerals on a piece of land did not belong to the land owner but to the Federal and state governments.
The commissioner said that anyone, who wanted to mine, had to obtain a mining license and pay royalty to the federal and the state governments.
“Mining is a legal business; anybody who is interested in it should approach the appropriate authorities for license instead of doing it illegally.
“Illegal mining constitutes uncontrollable environmental hazards and we must guard against it,” he said.