BIPC boss attributes insecurity in Benue to unemployment

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By Sunday Ogli, Makurdi

THE Chairman of Minerial Resources and Environmental Management Committee, MIREMCO in Benue State, Barrister Fidelis Mnyim, has lamented the insignificant benefits accruing to the state as 13 percent derivative from its huge natural deposits.

Barr Mnyim who made the lamentation during a media briefing in Makurdi on Friday, disclosed despite the fact that the state has 34 out of 44 total natural deposits in the country, it only gets about 30 million as13 percent derivative.

Barr Mnyim who attributed the development partly to the exploitative activities of illegal miners said: “Benue has no excuse to get such amount. But there is a problem, the presence of illegal miners in the state, the problem of improper report of mining activities in the state that has denied the state royalty and the 13 percent derivatives.

“It is quite unfortunate that our 13 percent derivative is very, very low. There are several miners who are inactive in the state. Most persons will just go and get licences and not do anything.

“There are other persons who are operating without licences and there are some with licences but have failed to operate with certain requirements; for instance, payment of surface rent, execution of community development agreement which include maintenance of roads, provision of water and several other incentives.

“The committee is created under the mineral and mining act 2009, particularly section 19. The State has the opportunity to benefit from the act, bearing in mind that the issue of solid minerals is in the exclusive list and the state governments benefit from section of the act.

“What this committee do is an advisory to the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dele Alake. The committee is to liaise and create synergy between the federal government, the state and the host community to see how the mineral resources are properly developed and harnessed.

“The presence of the committee is to ensure and take very deliberate step in ensuring that the IGR of the state is also increased.

“And how will the state IGR be increased? We have a window to take back from the state 13 percent derivatives which is through royalty payment. So, our duty is to look into this synergy and ensure that mineral resources are fully developed in the state.

“Upon assumption of office by the Governor and having been impressed by the minerals in Benue State, he made an executive order stopping all illegal mining activities in the State.

“He quickly set up a task force which carried out a thorough job exposing and making concerns and suggestions for the state to work with. Now, that the committee is in place in addition to other responsibilities, we are to pick a portion of the report, look into it and see how mineral resources can be fully developed in Benue state.

“We will be setting up a desk office which will ensure that all who have mining licences and the persons operating. We are also, to.ensure that proper royalty is paid to the federal government and for the purpose of the state, its 13 percent derivatives.

“We are also to ensure proper licencing for import and export of these mineral resources as well as ensure that proper environmental impact assessement is done.

“A desk office is established for proper documentation for miners, addresses challenges of legal miners with the host communities. We will carry out checks for 21 days. MIREM is also opened to investors.”