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FG to increase Mining Marshal Corps in all states

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, says that plans are ongoing to increase the number of Mining Marshal Corps from 60 to…

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, says that plans are ongoing to increase the number of Mining Marshal Corps from 60 to 100 in each state.

The increase would be across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Alake said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

He said that the move was part of efforts of the Federal Government to secure the mining operating environment aimed at attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to boost the economic profile of the country.

NAN reports that the Mining Marshal Corps inaugurated on March 21, was drawn from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to combat illegal mining.

The corps has 2,220 personnel, who have been specially trained by the military in modern warfare as a rapid response squad with 60 deployed in each of the 36 states and the FCT.

“We are looking at adding to the number to get a minimum of 100 in each state from the 60 on the ground,” he said.

He said that the President Bola Tinubu`s administration was determined to sanitise the mining sector and reposition it by putting in place policy measures to attract big players to the sector.

Alake said that prospective investors would need assurance of the security of the operating environment, their investment, equipment and personnel.

The minister said that the insecurity situation at mining sites across the federation prompted the president to establish an inter-ministerial committee on Jan.17.

He explained that the committee was to produce a blueprint for securing Nigeria`s natural resources, which comprised of mineral sites, marine economy and forests.

The minister, however, said that while deliberations were still ongoing by the committee on producing a comprehensive security architecture for the natural resources, the Mining Marshal Corps was established in the interim.

“Insecurity is rife in the forests where the solid minerals are deposited.

“The inter-ministerial efforts are ongoing as set up by the president but I couldn’t wait because of the criticality in curbing the illegality in the sector,” he said.

He said that the initiative was yielding the desired results, as more than 200 suspects had been arrested, with 133 being prosecuted and two foreigners convicted for illegal operations.

According to him, many requests are being received from states for the deployment of marshals in areas identified as sites of illegal mining due to their success.

“Every day, I receive requests from states asking for the deployment of these mining marshals to particular areas in their forests where they notice illegal operations going on”, he said. (NAN)

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