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Kogi Govt bans issuance of consent letters to miners

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Illegal mining: Kogi Govt bans issuance of consent letters to miners

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello

Published By: Paul Dada

The Kogi Government on Thursday banned traditional rulers and community leaders from issuing consent letters to prospective miners in the state.

The government directed that henceforth any consent letter must pass through due process for its consideration and approval.

Alhaji Bashir Gegu, the Commissioner for Solid Minerals and Natural Resources, issued the ban during a stakeholders meeting with traditional rulers on issues of tackling consent letter and community development agreement in Lokoja.

The commissioner explained: “This step taken by government becomes imperative in view of the prevailing circumstances about the issuance of consent letters that has given us a lot of concerns.”

He said that the atrocities being committed by illegal miners brought about the recent ban on illegal mining activities in the state.

“The decision is to address the growing issues of illegal mining activities and insecurity in the state, as well as effects of environmental degradation.

“It’s my belief that this meeting will afford all the stakeholders the opportunity to have adequate information on the proper manner of handling issues that concern the release of consent letters to the mining investors.

“The ban imposed today is not the first as most states of the federation had long banned issuance of consent letter to mining investors without clearance.

“As traditional rulers and royal fathers, it is generally believed that you hold the key to the success or failure of the economy and security administration of the state.

“This is simply because you operate at the grassroots of the society and interact closely with people in their daily activities,” he said.

The commissioner told the traditional rulers that they remain in the frontline of stakeholders in the business of economic building and security coexisting in every community.

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Gegu also reminded them that the situation of economy and security in the state today deserved collective approach by the government, the traditional institution and the communities for the desired peace and unity.

He assured them of government’s continued support to them in their efforts to de-escalate communal conflicts that continue to inflict severe losses of lives and destruction of properties.

According to him, it is critical that they continue to cultivate peaceful coexistence across the state for it to achieve the objectives of building Kogi in particular and Nigeria as a nation.

He said the state government, through his ministry, would continue to formulate policies that would provide the enabling environment for the mining sector to strive in the state.

On Community Development Agreement (CDA), Gegu said the Law stipulates that before any company commence mining, it has to submit statutory environmental documents mandatory for operation.

“Such documents include: Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental processing, Rehabilitation programme and Community Development Agreement (CDA).

“As a result of this unregulated mining activities going on, the extent of environmental degradation in Kogi state is unimaginable.”

He lamented that most mining investors had defaulted in environmental obligation in the areas of provision of portable water supply, electricity supply, healthcare services, school facilities, road construction and reclaiming farm lands.

Gegu said the state government through the ministry will work with the respective host communities and mining companies to come up with a comprehensive CDA that would be binding on both parties.

“Our Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, believes royal fathers hold the key to the success of the state enterprise, so his administration shall continue to improve on consultations with you,” he said.

(NAN)

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