Governors, FG agree on reforms in solid minerals development

Governors of the 36 states have engaged the Federal Government on key issues in developing the solid minerals sector.

They met with the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Oladele Alake, and agreed on ways of improving the sector.

A communiqué signed by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) and Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, disclosed that issues discussed related to recent policies and institutional and operational reforms undertaken by the ministry in harnessing the mining potentials of the country.

The communiqué disclosed that the minister sought the cooperation of state governments in his drive to create an enabling business environment for investors, support artisanal and small-scale mining cooperatives, and address illegal mining, and de-risk the sector"

The minister, it was said, encouraged state governments to form mining companies and apply for mining licenses.

The forum sought stronger intergovernmental relations in coordinating the activities of the sector, from licensing and surveillance to operational safeguards.

It also received a briefing from Dr. Ahmad Abdulwahab, NGE Senior Health Advisor, on states' progress with expanding health insurance coverage and their performance on nutrition, as well as the Primary Healthcare (PHC) Leadership Challenge.

According to the communiqué, governors were informed about "the roll-out of Phase II of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination exercise in 21 states starting May 27, 2024.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, said yesterday that Nigeria cannot remain poor with the vast mineral resources spread across the country if it joins the world to shift from fossil fuels to solid minerals. It emphasized the importance of the gemstone and jewelry-making industry in unlocking the value of Nigeria's mineral wealth.

The minister disclosed this in Abuja during the opening of the National Gemstone and Jewelry Show and the presentation of certificates to graduates of the MinDiver-sponsored gemstone and jewelry-making programme in Nigeria.

The minister also presented starter packs to trainees of the MinDiver skill acquisition programme in the jewelry and gemstone sub-sector of the mineral and metals industry, commending them on acquiring the necessary skills to contribute to the sector's growth, empowering them to make a meaningful impact in the industry.

Alake said: "There is no state in this country that has not got one type of solid mineral, be it gemstones and other minerals with critical metrics. We have them all. So, why should Nigeria be talking of poverty?

"If we had done the needful years and decades ago, if we had diverted our attention to this sector, it is capable of sustaining the Nigerian economy. But we didn't, because we had oil and we had a free flow of petrol dollars that shut our eyes to those critical sectors, like solid minerals, like gemstones and jewelry, or agriculture. But today, we are here because the nation can no longer solely rely on
petro dollars."

In his remarks, the Project Coordinator of MinDiver, Engr. Sallim Salaam, encouraged the attendees to observe the passion and dedication that went into creating each piece of jewellery on display, urging them to "watch with intrinsic eyes and connect with the artistry."

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), Dr. Mary Ogbe, appealed to state governors to assist the graduates of gemstone and jewelry-making with funds to take off their businesses.

The exhibition showcased the intricate and stunning jewelry pieces created by the graduates, highlighting the creativity and craftsmanship that exists within the industry.



From the Guardian.
By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Ernest Nzor.

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