Nigerian govt accuses two mining firms of taking N100 billion worth of minerals

minners arrested

The federal government has declared that two firms allegedly involved in illegal mining may have taken out minerals worth over N100 billion.

Yinka Oyebode, an aide to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, quoted the minister as saying this in a recent meeting with staff of his ministry.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how eight Chinese nationals and about a dozen Nigerians were arrested in Plateau for allegedly working for the firms involved the mining.

The suspects were later released while the firm involved denied that its mining activities were illegal.

In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, Mr. Oyebode, however, said the suspect’s activities was of concern to the federal government.

Read Mr. Oyebode’s full statement below.

The federal government has said that two allegedly illegal mining companies – Solid Unit Limited and Geotess Nigeria Limited that were shut down in Zurak, Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State last month, had illegally taken out minerals worth over N100 billion, in the past few years they have been involved in illegal activities in the area.

The Minister of Mines and steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this during a meeting with staff of the ministry in Abuja recently.

Sixteen Chinese nationals and eight Nigerians involved in massive illegal mining were arrested in Zurak, on August 15 at the wake of the shutting down of the two companies on the orders of the National Security Adviser, NSA, Babagana Monguno, and the minister when the duo visited some illegal mining sites in the richly endowed lead/zinc belt.

The Chairman of Solid Unit Limited, Usman Abubakar (aka Dan China), who is regarded as the most notorious illegal miner in the state was also declared wanted by the NSA, who ordered all security agencies to arrest him for acts seen as economic sabotage.

Mr Fayemi, in the meeting attended by all cadre of the workers in the ministry, said the huge scale of illegal mining by the two companies in Wase was tantamount to economic terrorism, adding that government was determined to confront anyone or group that are out to sabotage the economy through illegal mining and other means.

He said the scale of illegal mining perpetrated by the two blacklisted companies and their foreign collaborators was humongous, stressing that they used very sophisticated equipment, including a tunnel with rail track and other heavy machines for their illegal operations.

He said the arrested Nigerians have been in active connivance with foreigners to carry out massive illegal mining in the state thereby depriving the country of revenue. “Their unwholesome activities have also led to environmental degradation and abandoned mine pits,” he said.

He said the leadership of the ministry carried out the operation that led to the closure of the illegal mining companies/sites and the arrest in a discreet manner, because of the massive network of collaborators and informants at the disposal of the companies.

“We didn’t want to leave anything to chance, so it was done discreetly”, he said, adding that it was a successful operation, which according to him had also restored sanity to the area, which had been under the siege of illegal miners and criminal elements for some years.

The arrested Nigerians and their foreign collaborators, according to him, have been handed over to the newly inaugurated Mines Division of the Nigerian Police for prosecution.

In response to a question by one of the workers, Mr. Fayemi said the ministry would adopt its own whistle blowing arrangement in order to encourage more information on illegal mining activities in the sector.

The minister, however added that the ministry would continue to guide and provide both technical and financial supports genuine artisanal and small-scale miners, who abide by the rules and regulations guiding the sector.

Zurak is a key location of substantial mineral deposits notably lead, zinc, copper, tin, wolframite, tantalite and other base metals. Over time the range of illegal mining activities have been recorded around the area leading to the wanton loss of revenue, minable land and social displacement of the rural communities.


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  • tsunami1earthquake

    All these are reports from a retrospective study. How could the Nigerian government not put materials in check to monitor this kind of a thing? Whatever form of agreement between the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and these foreign and local companies must have taken cognizance of this kind of ‘under-the-table’ deeds. Yet such deeds did occur! And how did these foreign companies export these loots from the country when the country should have transborder agencies that could detect and prevent these thefts?

    Come on, the buck stops on the desk of the minister of mines and steel development. He must account for his lousiness, if not party to the sleaze. Period! People jostle to serve in government; and when they get the job, they mess it up completely.

    • Lanzy

      The minister is as dumb as a dumbie, yet he brandishes a PhD from UK. Why must Nigeria continue to use expatriates to mine minerals for goodness sake? Do those who we call expatriates have 3 0r 4 heads? When will we begin to rely on our own technology? This is why Biafra must be actualized. In just months of agitation, the Biafran military has developed a moving Armoured tank which was inspected by President Kanu. See it on youtube for urself. So if in just months they have Armoured combat tank made from local materials, then what will they make in 3 yrs? BUT in a Nigeria, a man like Buhari who had F9 in Math will prefer to buy billion dollar weapons from US and UK and expect Nigerians to applaud.Is this not st00pidity?

      • Rommel

        And then Goodluck ‘disaster’ Jonathan [Phd] with his world bank economist Ngozi Okonjo Iweala paid out over three trillion Naira in subsidy claims for 300 Billion worth of PMS imports, how do you reconcile your claim? shame should be following you about for refusing to see that the said mining company came into operation under Dumb ass Jonathan and Okonjo Iweala, your bias will never allow your brain from functioning efficiently, what I have stated are verifiable facts


      Again, I will keep on saying my points. Most government workers are enemies of the nation. Please, tell me any Ministry, Department or Agencies (MDA) that is not corrupt or against the interest of the country. This is not new as most of budget is being spent to pay salaries and allowances for the thieves, saboteurs and fraudsters. Welcome to Nigeria, the country that the hard working people are poor but the thieves, fraudsters, saboteurs, pretenders and corrupt infected minds the MDA are still living large. Tell me any of the MDA that has changed in of the bad character traits.

  • BRAINLESS Offcials???

    Exactly 1yr + 5days ago, I posted a comment using the Monica “BRAINLESS Officials” apparently referring to the mumudity of Dr Fayemi. The title of the story on PT at the time was “World class’ nickel discovered in Nigeria, govt. to sign exploration deal with Australian firm”,…Alas, as predicted my fears have come to pass.

    Below are excerpts from my post.

    “…Pertinent questions are:
    1. Has the government cared to find out if any Nigerian firm owned and run by Nigerians has the capacity to do the exploration?

    2. Is the govt and its “smart” officials aware of the demerits of leaving your minerals for foreign countries to mine? …especially a country affiliated to Britain?

    3. If the Australian firm tells you that they found 35,000 metric units of the mineral in the ground when in actual fact you have 1 billion metric units how will the Nigerian officials know?

    4. Are the Australians coming from Heaven or Pluto or they are human beings with one head and two hands like Nigerian scientists and geologists?

    5. Aren’t there Professors of Geology and mining Engineering in Nigerian Universities who should be able to do assessment and exploration?

    6. What is wrong in sending Nigerians to Austrailia to learn the EXPLORATION technology … and then get them to do the exploration with 100 local content …so Nigeria can take charge of its revenue 100%?…”

    Did you notice point 3 above?????….More of this will ever continue to happen in Nigeria as long as Nigeria remains one country where brainless dumb and ineffectual horrible WAECless people are permitted to become president.

    • Agba

      When they call Nigeria a ZOO,this is animal behaviour.

  • Abdullah Musa

    The lamentations of unserious people!
    All the countries that are earning their upkeep from mining is this how they handled their resources?
    Allowing every Chinese to come and take as much as he wishes, paying nothing but subsistence wages?

  • Agba

    Kayode Fayemi will be part of this deal,when he use Ekiti state money to sponosor Buhari and there will be away to get it back,Buhari refuse to change his cabinet,so that they can get their money back,politics in Nigeria is business,But i pray to God to give those OMO IBO their own country,we that remain will find solution to our problem either we get out or die in the poverty,WE ARE FINISHED.

  • Frank Bassey