The Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah has revealed that the enormous and abundant mineral resources spread across every part of the country, especially in Edo State, has potentials to transform the nation’s economy, develope infrastructure and grow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
He stated this when he paid a courtesy call on the Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki on Thursday, 17th February, 2022 during a 3-day working visit to the State.
Dr. Ogah disclosed that the purpose of the 3-Day working visit to the State was critical and strategic in the development of the solid mineral sector as the state has many untapped minerals which, when properly harnessed will gavanize it to achieving its “30-year Development Roadmap” in the areas of “Human Capital Development and the vision of Edo State outside oil revenues; Educational transformation through Edo – BEST and Health Improvement Programme; Improved Service Delivery Systems, Tax and Revenue Collection reforms and Economic transformation initiatives through modern agriculture and industrialization of the State.
The Minister solicited the support and cooperation of the State Government in accelerating the development of the huge commercial deposits of major minerals like Limestone, Talc, Dolomite, Gypsum, Feldspar, Quartz, Gold, Gemstones, Bentonite, Bitumen, Sharp Sand, Kaolin, Granite etc and other solid mineral resources in abundance in the State. He noted that the state could rank as number 2 mining state in the country.
Dr. Ogah said the collaboration would increase revenue generation, promote sustainable growth of the minerals sector, creat employment opportunities for nation’s teeming unemployed youths as well as provide
economic empowerment for host mining communities, which would lead to reduction in poverty level of rural communities.
He noted that the present level of mining operations in the State could be doubled through mutual collaboration and cooperation between the Federal, State, Local Government and mining investors in the state. He therefore, urged the Governor to ensure that the new partnership between the Ministry and Edo State Government is sustained to promote sustainable development of mineral resources in Edo State.
In his remarks, the Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki, stated that the visit couldn’t have come at a better time as the state is fully committed towards diversification. He said “Edo is a blessed naturally endowed state and we have taken our destiny in our hands to diversify, focusing on solid minerals”.
Governor Obaseki assured of the State’s readiness to collaborate on the development of the mineral sector in the state and implored the State be used a a model for Federal Government’s collaboration and coordination bid for the optimazation of revenue generation in the sector, adding that “Edo is willing to start afresh to get it right”.
In the same vain, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah at a Stakeholders meeting held at the Edo State banquet hall, commended the operators for investing in the mining industry despite its high risks and creating job opportunities for many Nigerians. He however condemned in very strong terms the use of under-aged miners, saying, “under-aged miners are not allowed. Report under-aged and illegal miners to security agencies”.
Dr. Ogah, intimated the operators of government’s policy focus and enjoined them to make honest declaration of their monthly mineral production and pay correct amount of royalties due to the Federal Government. He encouraged operators to keep close contact with the Federal Mines Officers in the state and always seek clarification on any matter they are not clear from them.
Speaking, Edo State Commissioner, Ministry of Mining, Oil and Gas, Ethan Uzamere noted that the development of the mineral sector would bring strong economic benefits and peaceful coexistence to the people of Edo state. He disclosed that the State was planning a workshop for miners where all issues regarding challenges would be addressed.
The Chairman, Edo State Miners Association of Nigeria, Engr. Mike Okhumode, while enumerating the myriads of challenges they face in carrying out their daily operations, appealed to the Federal Government to extend the same intervention given to the agricultural sector to them.
Also, an operator and Coordinator of the State’s Women in Mining, Mrs. Uche Idodo, while reiterating the dangers of under-aged miners, called on the Federal government to come to their aid in the matter of double taxation.