EFCC, Illegal Mining And Economic Recovery

Since the new current leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) assumed the driver’s seat at the foremost anti-graft agency, the commission appears to have got  its groove back. For an agency that had been castigated in certain quarters and regarded as a toothless bulldog, the perception rating has suddenly soared.

Thanks to the current Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ola Olukoyede, an experienced crusader, who has grown within the organisation  to understand its workings.

It is instructive to note that Olukoyede’s three focal areas —focus on the mandate of the EFCC, pursuit of transparency and accountability and building the image of Nigeria — have changed the narrative at the commission.

And to achieve the three-point agenda, the EFCC boss has harped on the need for collective responsibility, greater emphasis on preventive frameworks against graft and premium attention on transactional credits.

But in spite of its current pragmatic operations, many Nigerians who have become fixated with the belief that the EFCC function starts and ends with issues related to financial misappropriation by public officers are confused and asking questions about whether the commission is stepping beyond its bond on illegal mining activities.

It’s understandable but a quick look at the Act that established the commission has since cleared the doubts and affirmed that EFCC is on course in its crusade against illegal miners and working within its scope for the positive development of the country.

t is important to note that investigation by the EFCC revealed that most of the solid minerals were illegally mined by artisan miners who do not have operating licenses.

Further investigation by the commission also revealed that some of the miners who have licenses to purchase or possess minerals, buy from illegal miners instead of legitimate miners as stipulated in their licences.

The EFCC and its Zonal directorates have also lived up to expectations in the fight against illegal miners in Kwara, Oyo, Osun, Zamfara and other states in the country.

For instance, the Ilorin Zonal Directorate has arrested over 90 suspects for illegal mining activities, secured the convictions of seven illegal miners while 26 cases are still pending in court. The directorate also recovered 52 trucks carrying an average of 30 tonnes of assorted solid minerals each.

As the current administration is working hard to deepen its commitment to economic diversification, EFCC has become an indispensable body to block leakages. In the spirit of diversification, the mining sector that was hitherto left unattended to has become a gold mine. From Zamfara State, to Osun State, Ekiti to Kwara and other parts of Nigeria, where mining activities are currently going on, the Federal Government has now seen the need to beam its searchlight on the sector and make every stakeholder accountable.

But the more the government and its agency work to open up the sector for economic buoyancy, the more illegal miners who have seen the sector as a place to make free money work hard to sabotage the effort. These economic saboteurs have consistently carried on with their illegal operations with total disregard to the laws guiding mining in Nigeria, not minding the constitutional provisions. Today, it’s becoming a thing of the past as the Federal Ministry of Solid minerals and Federal Ministry of Steel Development have formed a synergy with the EFCC to nip illegal mining activities in the bud.

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