The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, has acknowledged receiving life-threatening messages due to his remarks regarding the connection between banditry and illegal mining in Nigeria.
He confirmed this unsettling development during his visit to the explosion site in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, on Monday.
A devastating explosion occurred on Adeyi Avenue, Bodija, Ibadan, last Tuesday, resulting in five confirmed fatalities, 77 individuals sustaining various degrees of injuries, and 58 houses being damaged.
Minister Dele Alake revealed that following his remarks on the involvement of influential and well-positioned Nigerians in illegal mining at the National Assembly, he has been receiving life-threatening messages.
The minister said, “If you follow my budget defence at the House of Representatives or Senate, I did say categorically to the whole world that powerful Nigerians are behind the banditry associated with illegal miners in this country.
” I said it openly, of course, I received threats, but we are undaunted because these things have to be said, and in any case, I wasn’t saying anything new, most people knew it.
“Many people have been saying it, I only gave it an official stamp, based on intelligence reports. So, there is a lot of connivance along and among the strata of the society, both high, medium and low.
“It is not an exclusive preserve of just a high hut. It cuts across the strata of the society. So, this is a societal problem, and I did say at that meeting at the budgetary defence that we were employing both kinetic and non-kinetic strategies and tactics to combine all of these. The details I won’t be able to reveal publicly now because that will also be un-strategic.”
Nevertheless, he assured that the Federal Government is collaborating with essential stakeholders at the state, local government, and host community levels to halt the activities of illegal miners.
Alake emphasized that involving host communities is crucial, as any security strategy devised by the committee will ultimately include the local residents who possess valuable knowledge about the terrain.
“One of the things that happen now, even in the forest, that is unknown to many people is that the bandits who the highly placed Nigerians are sponsoring have access to funding and heavy arsenal.
“They even laid mines on the ground against our ground forces that were moving in the forest to dislodge them. That is why we require the military’s presence, involvement and engagement,” he added.
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