By John Okeke
The Federal Government has tasked the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) and other relevant Professional bodies in the sector to initiate programmes that would enhance the economic and infrastructural development of the country.
His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of State, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, who got conferred as a Fellow of the Society, gave the charge at the Opening Ceremony of the 56th Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, NMGS, held on Tuesday, 16 March 2021, in Ibadan.
Reiterating his administration’s commitment to inclusive engagement of all relevant stakeholders in the Nigeria developmental project., the President said: “My Administration, since assumption of office, has reiterated the need to have the Nigerian Professional bodies engaged as partners in developing the Nigeria of our choice, where poverty and backwardness in all sphere of the Nigerian lives will be more of an exemption rather than the norm. This is because we believe as an administration, that no other persons will build a better nation for us than ourselves.”
He said that his administration’s determination to rejig the nation’s economy through the mineral and energy sectors is to diversify the economy; which had necessitated in the roll-out of series of policy initiatives aimed at revamping the Nigerian economy that would be felt by the most vulnerable groups of our citizens.
The President appreciated the Professional Societies and Associations for the massive technical support in helping the administration shape policies and initiatives in these sectors, adding that such technical support has indeed made the policies homegrown solutions.
Declaring the Exhibition Open, President Buhari said that the choice of this year’s theme “Responsible Exploration and Exploitation of Mineral Resources in a Secured Environment” is very apt and timely as it encapsulates the present security situation of the country.
Noting that it is difficult to achieve meaningful development in any environment plagued with security challenges as being witnessed in the country, the President said:
President Buhari disclosed that he had directed the Ministers of Mines and Steel Development to strengthen collaborate with State Government and other security agencies to ensure the security and safety of all mining areas in order to attain sustainable development in the sector and assured that Government would take a look at the recommendations of the Communique with a view to adopting and implementing them.
In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde said that the Conference is timely, noting that the State is articulating a comprehensive framework that would lead to the evolution of a more vibrant industry that mirrors global best practices in the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources.
Governor Makinde revealed that the State is committed towards unlocking the huge potentials within the solid mineral sector for the development of the State and benefit of the people. He said ” every inch of land has something to offer in terms of solid minerals.
We have minerals amounting to billions of naira in the ground, waiting to be exploited”
In his welcome address, President of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, NMGS, Engr Obadiah Simon Nkom stated that the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society is glad to note that the Nigerian Mineral Sector is on the right track to development as shown from its sustained efforts towards implementing the Mining Road Map.
Describing the vigour with which various government agencies charged with implementing the key points of the Road Map as refreshing, and noted that the global pandemic has brought to fore the need to strengthen local capacity and have national self sufficiency policy in all aspects, in food security, energy security, mineral security and the security of lives and property as well as amplified the need of caring for the less privileged and provision of gainful employment for the vast majority of Nigerians.
Engr Nkom while commending the Federal Government for its commitment to providing policies geared towards rescuing the nation from backwardness and poverty, however disclosed that meaningful achievement can only be attained in a safe and secure environment.
He therefore enjoined the Federal Government to ensure the provision of a secured national space for busineses to thrive as “private and multilateral investments needed to undertake these initiatives and programmes can only be obtained when the security of such investments is guaranteed not only in terns of returns on Investments but in the physical environment where the investment is operating”, he said.
In his keynote address, Malam Mele Kolo Kyari, GMD, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, stressed the need for government at all levels to ensure the exploration and exploitation of abandoned solid mineral resources across the country for the benefit of Nigerians.
In a related development, the Minister of State Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah during his courtesy visit to the Governor, His Excellency Seyi Makinde, reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to collaborate with the three tiers of government so as to unlock the mineral potentials of the country.
Speaking further, Dr Ogah revealed that if the revenue derived from the sector is properly harnessed, it would increase revenue generation and create jobs and empowerment for the youths; adding that Oyo State and indeed Nigeria could be transformed in terms of infrastructure.
The Minster thanked the Government and people of Oyo State for readily providing two hectares of land at Ojo to the Federal Government for the construction of mineral processing clusters for Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners.
In his response, Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, stated that the State is in support of the diversification of the economy by the Federal Government from crude oil dominated economy.
He assured of the State’s commitment towards the national aspiration of growing the economy through the Mineral and Agricultural Sectors.