Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, has declared that governors do not have the constitutional power to ban mining activities in their various states.
Alake made the statement during a pre-event press conference in Abuja ahead of the 8th edition of the annual Nigerian Mining Week 2023 slated for October 16-18,2023 in Abuja.
He pointed out that the governors know that mining remains exclusively for the federal government in the Constitution, hence it is not under the purview of a State Governor as far as the enactment laws, and regulations of operations of solid minerals are concerned.
Therefore, the Minister cautioned State Governors to desist from taking laws into their hands to regulate the sector and said it is illegal to do so, which also they are not constitutionally empowered to regulate oil and gas activities.
He said: “The state’s ban on mining activities across the court is a point that is really sore. And it’s a constitutional matter. I want to use this opportunity to get to the entire Nigerian public that no state and I repeat, no state has the authority to interfere in mining operations, no state has the authority and it is not it’s a no-brainer. It’s a constitutional matter.
“Mining belongs exclusively in the purview of the federal government, according to the Constitution. It is in the exclusive legislative list. It is not in the residual.
“It is not in the concurrent it’s in the exclusive legislative list. Every item on the exclusive, legislative list belongs to the federal government.
“There is no doubt about that. All items on the residual list belong to the states and all items in a concurrent section belong to both, but mining like oil and solid Minerals belongs in the exclusive legislative, therefore, it is the federal government that has the authority.
“Legal authorities as supported by the Constitution make laws regulations and operationalization of the Solid Minerals resources of Nigeria.
“Now, because of the peculiar nature of solid minerals, because of the involvement of the local communities or the host communities, there is an engagement even in the regulatory framework of mining operations.
“There is an engagement close with the host communities and the federal government through the Ministry of Solid has been engaging with host communities in fact, in the licensing operations or processes or procedures, there is a provision for the engagement with the host communities. Now these host communities also belong in the various states.”
“Mind you we are not against any state that wants to engage a mining operations as long as it follows due process.
“If any state wants to engage in mining, it can form its own Special Purpose Vehicle, SPV, apply for a mining licence from the office of the Minister for solid minerals go through the due process and be so licensed if it meets all the criteria. Such a state is like any company or like any individual, institution, or corporate body.
“But for a State to wake up and say it is regulating mining activities is like a state waking up to ban oil exploration it is downright illegal.