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Nigerian Minister Advocates Capital Punishment, Says Gold Smugglers Using Private Jets

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The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uche Ogah, alleged on Tuesday that owners of private jets were collaborating with illegal gold miners to smuggle the precious product out of Nigeria.

Ogah made the allegation at an investigative hearing on $9bn annual loss to illegal mining and smuggling of gold organised by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy.

He said, “Gold smuggling in Nigeria are often done using private jets, the very reason the private jet ownership and operations need to be streamlined in the country.”

The minister noted that gold smuggling and illegal mining which were robbing the country of billions of dollars on yearly basis, thrived due to series of factors.

He listed the factors to include connivance of security agencies with the offenders, host communities’ collaboration and low level of application of technology.

He said, “For these crimes to be fought decisively, potent punitive measure like capital punishment needs to be legally provided.”

A member of the committee, Senator Francis Fadaunsi, alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria made smuggling very easy in Nigeria through its lopsided and exclusive policy on forex availability to Nigerians.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Tanko Al-Makura, said heads of relevant government agencies would be summoned for more clinical interface.

-Punch

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