SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The Nigerian Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development called for close monitoring on gold smuggling. The country has been reporting large number of cases of gold smuggling incidents across the borders. As per rough estimates, illegal gold smuggling leads to a loss of approximately $9 million per annum to the country’s economy.
In his disclosure to the Senate at an investigative hearing, Uche Ogah, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development stated that the private jet owners in the country are one among the major contributors of illegal gold smuggling. He alleged them as the main masterminds of illegal mining and smuggling of gold in the country.
The efforts by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have yielded no results, because it has no powers to check private jets. The Minister urged that private jets ownership and operations in the country needs to be streamlined. The offenders should be given strict punishment, including death sentence.
Also, the Minister alleged the Central Bank of Nigeria has not made significant contributions towards development of the sector. He emphasized the need for added investment in the area of research and development of the sector.