The Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, Sunday, demanded handover and prosecution of 17 illegal Chinese miners arrested in Osun State.
The demand was made by the National President, MAN, Kabir Kankara, while expressing concern over the refusal to release the illegal Chinese miners to the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development for prosecution.
According to Kankara, the issue that has to do with the Ministry because solid minerals belong to the Exclusive List of the 1999 Constitution.
He added that despite they were caught and arrested in Osun State does not make the State have the constitutional powers to keep or prosecute them because it is not a state affair.
It will be recalled that the Osun State Government on May 3, 2020, announced the arrest of 27 illegal miners in the State. Those apprehended include 17 Chinese nationals and 10 locals, including a traditional ruler.
He said: “What has happened in Osun state is a clear indication that things have been going wrong and God has started exposing them. I am in support of what the Honourable Minister is doing, that they should be prosecuted according to the law.
“I demand that the Chinese should be released to the federal government for prosecution by the joint task force of Osun state. Because this is a federal government affair, the solid minerals is under the exclusive right of the federal government.
“It is under the purview of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. It doesn’t mean because they caught them that they should not hand them over. I demand they should hand them over to the Ministry for prosecution because it is not a state affair.”
The miners’ boss also said the association and Nigerians cannot watch and fold hands see illegal foreigners come into the country in collaboration with unpatriotic Nigerians to steal and cart away the commonwealth that belongs to all citizens of the country.
He added that such saboteurs should be dealt with because they are out to sabotage the effort of the Federal Government to diversify and generate revenue from the solid minerals sector for national development.
“We cannot just fold our hands and allow foreigners to come and loot our commonwealth and go out with our treasures and get away with it. And all the Nigerians who are collaborating with them should also be prosecuted, not just the Chinese alone all those who are involved should be prosecuted”, he said.