By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
In its fight against illegal mining in Nigeria, the federal government through the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development has reiterated its commitment and determination to eliminate the trend through effective collaboration with security agencies.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake stated this at the graduation ceremony and presentation of starter packs to the third batch of jewellery-making training, organized by the Ministry, in collaboration with the World Bank Assisted MINDIVER Project.
Mr Alake stated that the menace of illegal mining that has eroded and deprived the country of substantial revenue will be nipped in the bud under the political will and firmness of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
While hinting at strategic measures that will be deployed including effective collaboration with the security agencies, the Hon. Minister strongly affirmed that it will no longer be business as usual barring the identity of whoever is involved in this economic crime.
Speaking on the capacity building programme for 30 trainees on Jewelry Making and Design, conceived under the ongoing minerals sector support for economic diversification project of the Ministry, the Minister stated that” Nigerians has no business going abroad to buy jewellery in view of her large potential to contribute immensely to jewellery-making global market. He said: ” The solid minerals sector is now the focal point of generating revenue for the country, it is now the next petroleum of Nigeria”.
He said: ”It is a known fact that Nigeria with its large population has a huge potential for jewellery and it is imperative to create a local jewellery industry that would substantially meet local demand for jewellery products, increase import substitution, create jobs and boost the export value of Nigeria’s gemstones and jewellery”.
To this end, Mr Alake congratulated the 30 graduates for completing the Master Training Programme successfully: stressing ” it is my belief that the Jewellery industry when fully harnessed could contribute significantly to national economic growth by creating massive job opportunities…”
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Mary Ogbe, represented by the Director, Human Resource Management Dept. in the Ministry, Mohammed Suleiman mini; commended the Minister for his most valuable support enabling the completion of the empowerment project within his short time in the ministry.