By Hannah Nathan, Warri.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, has stated that no state government in Nigeria has the authority under the constitution to prohibit mining activity.
Mr. Alake made this announcement at the second pre-press conference for the eighth annual Nigeria Mining Week in Abuja.
In response to several states passing executive orders outlawing mining operations, the minister said.
Agbu Kefas, the governor of Taraba State, signed an executive order outlawing unlawful mining in the region in June.
During a meeting with traditional leaders at the state government house in Jalingo, Mr. Kefas, who signed the decree, stated that it would deal with insecurity in the state.
He declared that to combat illegal mining in the state, his government would enhance its regulatory framework and work with all pertinent organizations.
In remarks made on Wednesday, Mr Alake asserted that no state government has the right to obstruct mining operations in other states.
He clarified that mining activities are constitutional problems and fall under the federal government’s exclusive legislative list.
A major grievance is the nationwide state prohibition on mining operations. Furthermore, it is a constitutional issue. I want to make use of this occasion to inform the people of Nigeria that no state and I repeat, no state, has the power to interfere with mining operations. It is a constitutional issue, according to Mr. Alake.
He said that mining is solely the responsibility of the federal government and that, by the constitution, it belongs on the exclusive legislative list rather than the concurrent or residual list.
“Every item on the exclusive legislative list is property of the United States. There is no question in my mind. All items on the residual list and all items in a concurrent section belong to the states, but mining, such as oil and solid minerals, do not.
The federal government has the authority since minerals belong in the exclusive legislative domain, he continued.
The minister clarified that as long as a state follows the proper procedures and obtains a license, the ministry has nothing against it.
The federal government has been interacting closely with the host communities through the Ministry of Solid Minerals. There are licensing operations, processes, and procedures that involve the host communities.