Members of the Special Mines Surveillance Taskforce (SMSTF) on illegal mining have been urged not to compromise the objectives of their assignment by way of connivance with or cover up of those who indulge in illicit business around the country.
The SMSTF comprise of the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Customs (NCS), Department of State Services (DSS), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and the zonal mines officers in the States.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu disclosed this recently at the opening session of the second phase of training of members of the Special Mines Surveillance Taskforce (SMSTF) on illegal mining organised by the Ministry in Jos, Pleateau State.
According to a statement issued by the director, Press in the ministry, Dr. Mu’azu in his address at the opening session, the training was aimed at enlightening and educating the Taskforce on what constitutes illegal mining as contained in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, its ancillary Regulations 2011, Explosives of 1964 and Regulations of 1967 respectively.
Speaking through his representative, the Director of Mines Inspectorate, Engineer Karnap Wuyep, the Permanent Secretary stated that the Taskforce was established in 2012 with membership drawn from relevant Ministries and Security Agencies.
The Taskforce is charged with the responsibility of curbing illegal mining, reducing environmental degradation and plugging of revenue leakages amongst others.
It is structured into short, medium and long term targets to achieve its mandate and one of the medium term targets is the training of the Taskforce on relevant aspects of mining particularly mining legislations, mineral identification, etc.
He assured the participants that the ministry, based on the available budgetary allocation and other intervention funds, would provide relevant logistics and funds needed to accomplish their assignment.
He also enjoined them to use the knowledge and skills acquired for proper minefield monitoring and surveillance to curb illegal mining across the Federation.
Engineer David Awojobi in his paper “Special Mines Surveillance Taskforce, Functions of the SMSTF, Illegal Mining and its Menace and SMSTF Terms of Reference” stated the history of the establishment of the Taskforce and its functions as well as the characteristics of illegal miners.