Dr. Uche Ogah, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, said private jets are being used for gold smuggling in Nigeria.
During an investigative hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy on the loss of $9 billion due to illegal mining and smuggling of gold, Ogah said this.
Additionally, he advocated capital punishment for offenders.
Gold smuggling in Nigeria is often done using private jets, which is why ownership and operations of private jets need to be streamlined, according to him.
Gold smuggling and illegal mining rob the country of billions of dollars every year, according to him.
The crime flourishes due to the connivance of the security agencies with offenders, collaboration of host communities, low level of technology application, and negative mindsets of Nigerians about the country.
He said potent punishments, such as capital punishment, need to be legalized so that these crimes can be combated decisively.
According to him, the menace can be tackled proactively by establishing a mines police, a special court or tribunal to try offenders, or providing adequate funding for the ministry and encouraging Nigerians to stay in the country.
Senator Tanko Al-Makura (APC, Nasarawa) said the committee would summon heads of relevant government agencies to conduct a thorough investigation into illegal mining and gold smuggling.