The Nigerian government has threatened to revoke the licences of a total of 4,011 mineral title holders for alleged failure to pay up mandatory annual service fees.
A document obtained by PREMIUM TIMES noted that the defaulters have been given 30 days to pay up or risk losing their titles.
The document, which contains the list of the alleged defaulters, was issued by the country’s Mining Cadastre Office (MCO), an agency of the Nigerian government saddled with the responsibility of administering mining titles.
“…If after the expiration of the 30 days notice, you fail or neglect to pay up the outstanding fee to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Mining Cadastre Office shall immediately proceed and revoke your mineral title licence(s) without any further notice to you,” the agency warned.
The agency is responsible for the administration and management of mineral rights and titles “through the application for or competitive bidding process in a transparent manner.”
Out of the 4,011 alleged mineral title defaulters on the list, Small Scale Mining Lease (SSML) holders have the highest defaulters of 1,914, representing a total of 47.72 per cent while exploration licence holders accounted for 1,161, representing 28.95 per cent.
Also, the quarry lease holders accounted for 808, representing 20.14 per cent while mining lease (ML) holders accounted for 128, representing 3.12 per cent of the total alleged defaulters.
According to the available data, when compared to the past year when 2,763 title holders were listed as defaulters, the total number of alleged defaulters in 2022 increased by 31.1 per cent.
Apart from those who reportedly failed to pay up their annual service fee, the mineral licensor also noted that it would not be business as usual “for those whose titles have been revoked and still refused to pay.”
It said: “Notice is also given to all persons, companies, etc who had their Mining Titles revoked before now and had outstanding liability (Annual Service Fees) against them prior to the revocation of their titles, are also hereby given 30 days to pay up all their outstanding liabilities (indebtedness) in line with Section 155 of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act 2007, failure of which all necessary steps including legal action (prosecution) shall be taken to recover all the outstanding Annual Service Fees or liabilities as the case may be and without any further notice”.
Meanwhile, the agency’s Director-General, Simon Nkom, in a recent media chat, said the organisation had only generated a total of N9.4 billion since he assumed office in 2019.
He said in 2017, the agency generated N2.13 billion but experienced a 27.23 per cent decrease (N1.55 billion) in 2018 before he assumed office.
Mr Nkom noted that the agency generated a total of N2.58 billion in 2019, and that despite the biting impact of the rampaging coronavirus pandemic, a total of N2.3 billion was generated in 2020.
However, despite having more defaulters of title holders in 2021, the agency said it surpassed all expectations by generating N4.3 billion in 2021, saying it ranks the highest annual revenue generated by the agency since its inception.
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