By Palma Ileye
Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Oladele Alake has stated that the Solid Minerals Nigeria was endowed with in abundance will be a resurrection tool to revamp the nation’s economy, affirming that the present administration was shifting attention from hydro-carbon.
Alake in a press release issued yesterday by Alaba Balogun, Head of Press and Public Relations of the Ministry made this declaration when a delegation of Nigeria-China Chamber of Mines led by its National President, Dr. Olugbenga Ajala paid him a courtesy visit in his Office at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja.
Elaborating further, he stated that the Ministry has initiated several deliberate policies and programmes which were geared towards achieving set objectives for economic prosperity; as outlined in the roadmap that was recently released to the public.
He affirmed that the establishment of the Solid Minerals Corporation and promotion of public private ventures was crucial to these objectives; adding that it will ensure sustainability, increase revenue accruable to government, with a significantcontribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
The Minister acknowledged the importance of security of investors, which according to him, was crucial to achieving the Ministry’s vision of repositioning and sanitizing the minerals sector for maximum contribution to the nation’s socio-economic development under the present administration’s renewed hope agenda.
To this end, he said that the Ministry was committed to establishing a multi- agency task force that will put a stop to the activities of illegal miners and their collaborators.
“The Government will come down firmly on these unscrupulous foreign operators sponsoring banditry to perpetrate illegal mining: let me use this medium to appeal through you to tell those sponsors to desist or face the full wrath ofthe law,” the Solid Minerals Minister stated.
He restated that theGovernment has given illegal miners 30-days grace, stressing, it was not a punitive measure but a way to formalize and make them legitimate to continue in their trade.
He also asserted that the aim was to streamline and structure the Small Scale Artisanal Miners for maximum yield to the Federal Government.
Speaking earlier, the National President, Nigeria-China Chamber of Mines, Dr. Olugbenga Ajala informed the Minister that their visit was to celebrate his appointment as Minister for Solid Minerals Development.
The Association, he stated, has proferred ideas and suggestions to the Ministry; that will advance and grow the sector for socio-economic development of the country. Some of which include improving data synergy between the Mining Cadastre Office, MCO and Nigeria Geological Survey Agency, NGSA.