The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has claimed that some influential Nigerians are the sponsors of those caught mining illegally.
According to Adegbite, “these godfathers” are putting pressure on the federal government to free Chinese nationals arrested for illegal mining.
The Osun government on Monday, announced the arrest of 27 persons for illegal mining of gold.
17 out of those arrested were reported to be Chinese nationals.
Adegbite, speaking with journalists in Abuja, made it clear the government would not tolerate any form of illegal mining.
“Nigerians in high positions of authority [are behind them]. The Chinese are the main culprits in the illegal mining activities and we are going to meet with the Chinese embassy. We are going to present all the facts to them so that it will not appear as if we are targeting them unfairly,” he said.
“These godfathers were operating with impunity before, but they are now scared because the arrested illegal miners are naming names but they (godfathers) are denying. The law is on our side and we must prosecute these people to serve as a deterrent,” he noted.