The Minister State for Mines and Steel Development, Uchechukwu Ogah, on Tuesday, insisted on capital punishment for illegal miners to stop the looting of the nation’s resources in the mining sector.
Presenting the ministry’s 2022 budget to the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy, he said: “Required potent laws are needed to confront the menace of illegal mining in the sector in form of capital punishment against offenders as earlier proposed before this committee a few weeks back.
“We’re already collaborating with the office of the Minister of Justice for a bill to that effect”.
A member of the committee, Senator Francis Fadaunsi had told the minister that the N7.3bn revenue projection for 2022 was not impressive against the backdrop of illegal mining happening in the sector with reckless abandonment.
“Your ministry needs to rise up to the challenge of tackling the menace of illegal mining which is robbing the country nothing less than N100bn on yearly basis,” he said.
The minister had said the projected N7.3bn in 2022 would be N1.1bn higher than the N6.2bn generated in 2021.
The total budgetary allocation to the Ministry and agencies under it for the 2022 fiscal year according to the minister, is N23.4bn out of which N10.3bn is for personnel cost, N1.7bn for overhead and N11.4bn for capital projects.