The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Oladele Alake, has said that state governments have no power to regulate mining activities.
He also said the ban by states on mining was illegal and not in line with the constitution.
The minister said this during a pre-event press conference in Abuja for the 8th edition of the annual Nigerian Mining Week 2023 from Monday to Wednesday.
He said, “The states’ ban on mining activities across the country is a point that is really sore. And it’s a constitutional matter. I want to use this opportunity to get to the entire Nigerian public that no state and I repeat, no state has the authority to interfere in mining operations, no state has the authority, and it is not it’s a no-brainer. It’s a constitutional matter.
“Mining belongs exclusively in the purview of the Federal Government, according to the Constitution. It is in the exclusive legislative list. It is not in the residual. It is not in the concurrent; it’s in the exclusive legislative list. Every item on the exclusive legislative list belongs to the Federal Government. There is no doubt about that. All items on the residual list belong to the states and all items in a concurrent section belong to both, but mining, like oil, and solid minerals belongs in the exclusive legislative, therefore, it is the Federal Government that has the authority; legal authorities as supported by the constitution to make laws regulations and operationalization of the solid minerals resources of Nigeria.”
The minister added that if states need to engage in mining activities, they should go through the right process and apply for a licence.
He said, “Mind you we are not against any state that wants to engage a mining operation as long as it follows the due process. If any state wants to engage in mining, it can form its own special purpose vehicle, apply for a mining licence from the office of the minister for solid minerals and go through the due process, and be so licensed if it meets all the criteria.
“But for a state to wake up and say it is regulating mining activities is like a state waking up to ban oil exploration. It is downright illegal.”
However, he said that the Federal Government did not intend to confront states but to engage and educate them on what is the right thing to do.
He added that he had met with the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and some state governors in addressing the issue.
Source: The Punch