Bauchi - Bauchi State Government has banned all mining activities in the state, the Commissioner for Environment, Mahiru Maiwada, said.
Maiwada disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi on Tuesday.
He said that the ban would remain in force until the law regulating the exploration of mineral resources was amended by both the Federal and State House of Assemblies.
He said that the state was not comfortable with the arrangement whereby prospective miners would obtain permission from the Federal Government to operate in the state.
‘’We know that mining is on the exclusive list of the Federal Government, but we’ve domesticated it here. We have our own local laws which will soon be passed by the State House of Assembly to regulate the activities of all these illegal miners in the Bauchi.
‘’What we are doing now is that you cannot mine in Bauchi until you have followed the due process; and the due process is for you to bring the Environmental Impact Assessment that must conform with our own standard.
‘’So right now, we have stopped all mining activities in Bauchi.’’
Maiwada said that already, the state had made representations to the National Assembly towards addressing the issue, adding that the federal law makers had agreed with the submission from the state.
‘’The members saw that there is no reason for the state not to participate in the exploration of its minerals. As a government, we have the responsibility to protect the environment, the people and even the investors.
‘’We will not allow a situation whereby an investor will bring an Environment Impact Assessment from Abuja and just go ahead to conduct business. We need to be part of the arrangement. ’’
The commissioner said that the State Executive Council had directed that no mining should take place in the state without the consent of His ministry or its parastatal agency.
He stressed that an EIA certificate must be given by the ministry for any mining to take place in the state.
Maiwada also said that a bill had been sent to the State House Assembly for the amendment of the law, adding that the bill would not go contrary to the federal law on mining activities.
He, however, said that the measure was in no way a policy to discourage any genuine investor from coming into the state, but a way of protecting all stakeholders in the industry.
‘’We’re not saying mining is an illegal activity. Most of them are Chinese and we have very good bilateral relations with China and we are also interested in attracting Foreign Direct Investment to our state.
‘’If mining is fully harnessed, it can provide almost 40 to 50 per cent employment opportunity to our people here. We are not saying they should not operate in Bauchi, but we want to create an enabling environment where both the host community and the investors will not be in conflict"