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FG Revokes 924 Dormant Mining Licences as Minister Decries Racketeering

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The Federal Government has revoked additional 924 dormant mining licenses.

Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake announced this on Wednesday in Abuja as he decried the racketeering of the issuance of the licences.

He told newsmen that mining licence racketeering was impeding the development of the sector and obstructing genuine investors from showing interest in Nigeria’s mines.

Licences revoked were 528 for exploration; 22 mining leases, 101 quarry licences and 273 small-scale mining licences.

The minister explained that a grace period of 30 days was given to defaulters to rectify their statuses, and to state reasons for dormancy on the sites allocated to them in line with Constitutional provisions.

He said that 963 licences were published in the official gazette of the Federal Government in December 2023 awaiting revocation.

Out of these, only 39 of the listed licence holders responded to the warning as they either moved to site immediately or they stated challenges hindering their operations, he added.

Alake stated that the revocation of the licences was taken to sanitise and reposition the mining sector to boost Nigeria’s economic profile and to accelerate its industrialisation.

He noted that the “first-come, first-served’’ rule in the licencing regime was a disincentive for genuine investors as the rule prohibited issuance of fresh licence on a site already allocated.

The ministry revoked 1,663 mining licences in November 2023 because of failure by licensees to pay statutory charges and other dues to the Federal Government.

Alake said that following the revocation of the 1,663 licences in 2023, government received a lot of pressure to reconsider the punitive measure.

According to him, in response to the pressure, government issued a policy for defaulters to make restitution and show remorse in order to be considered for reinstatement.

He said that the restitution varied depending on the category of licence revoked.

“The highest, which is on mining attracts a restitution N10 million per revoked licence payable to the Federal Government.

“For the small-scale licences, the restitution is N7.5 million for reinstatement and for exploration licence, the restitution is N5 million,’’ Alake said.

The minister warned in his 2024 New Year goodwill message that more mining licences would be revoked for other categories of defaulters.

He warned also that Nigeria’s mining sector would not continue to suffer from low investments because of nefarious activities of individuals who bought licences for promising mine sites only to resell them at the illegal market.

He added that the practice was tarnishing Nigeria’s image and was diverting funds that could be used for exploration to the illegal market to acquire licences at exorbitant prices.

Alake stressed that Nigeria was losing a significant amount of Foreign Direct Investment to the untoward practice. (NAN)

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Rivers Assembly Screens, Confirms Eight Commissioner Designates

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The Victor Oko-Jumbo-led faction of the Rivers State House of Assembly, on Tuesday screened and confirmed eight nominees for possible appointment as commissioners in the state.

Reports says that the screening took place at the temporary legislative chambers located within the state Government House.

The Oko-Jumbo-led three-member legislature is loyal to the state Governor, Siminalayi Fubara.

The commissioner designates are to fill some of the vacancies created by the recent resignation of nine commissioners loyal to the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Chief Nyesom Wike.

During the sitting, Oko-Jumbo read the correspondence from the governor, requesting the screening and confirmation of the nominees.

He expressed the assembly’s commitment towards supporting the governor to provide democracy dividends to Rivers people.

The factional speaker said that the screening was part of the assembly’s responsibility in the governance of the state

Responding, the House Leader, Mr Sokari Good-boy and Deputy Speaker, Adolphus Timothy, unanimously adopted the request.

They said that most of the nominees had previously served the state at various capacities without blemish.

The commissioner designates include, Mr Charles Bakee, Mr Collins Onunwo, Dr Peter Medee and Mr Elloka Amadi,

Others are, Mr Basoene Benibo, Mr Sydney Gbara, Dr Ovy Chukwuma and Mr Solomon Eke.(NAN)

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Police Arrest Suspect for Allegedly Defrauding Thai Citizen of $216,000, N30m

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Police in Lagos State have arrested a suspect, Chimereze Chinedu, for allegedly defrauding a citizen of Thailand of $216,000 (₦317,725,271) and N30 million.

Police spokesman in the state, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the arrest in a post he shared on his X (formerly Twitter) handle @benHundeyin on Tuesday.

He said that the suspect was arrested by detectives of the State Criminal Investigative Department (SCID).

“Chinedu defrauded his victim under the pretense of selling 37 tricycles to her.

“He further expanded his fraudulent activity by forging letters of SCID, Lagos, showing that the tricycles were seized by the police and further extorted N30 million from the victim to purportedly secure the release of the tricycles,” he said.

The image maker said that the suspect was arrested on May 10 in Enugu State following weeks of diligent investigation and technical support from the International Criminal Police Organization, (INTERPOL)

The spokesman said that the suspect was currently in detention, as investigations continued to uncover details towards identifying and apprehending his accomplices.

According to Hundeyin, the Lagos State Command remains steadfast in its commitment to combating internet fraud and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice. (NAN)

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Death Penalty for Drug Traffickers not Proven Effective, Says UNODC

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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has said that the move by the Nigerian Senate to impose death penalty for drug trafficking offenders would not yield the desired result.

UNODC Country Representative, Oliver Stolpe, said this at a two-day Media Personnel Training organised in collaboration with NDLEA and other partners on Tuesday in Abuja.

Reports says that the training is centered on Anti -Corruption, Police Accountability, Wildlife Crime and Sensitisation on Drugs Prevention, Treatment and Care, (DPTC).

“Our stance as UN is clear on the death penalty we are principally and categorically against it. And from a very practical viewpoint, I have to say, it doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Stolpe maintained that the UN had always advocated for clear distinction between crimes of drug trafficking as opposed to the issue of drug use.

He said that it was always considered primarily to be a health issue saying that it should be dealt with as such.

According to him, addiction is a health condition, it is not a choice.”

On the need for an updated drug data for Nigerians, Stolpe observed that the current national drug survey for Nigeria was last done six years ago, (2018), and therefore does not reflect the current situation for Nigeria.

He said “the drug use survey of 2018 remains as far as I can tell the most cited study in the media.

“This data is outdated and I think a very critical question that media could ask at that point is really well, how can we still refer to 2018 data to describe today’s levels of drug use?

Stolpe enjoined the media to keep the good work while ensuring that information were disseminated efficiently and effectively. NAN)

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