By Adeola Badru
The Federal Government, Tuesday, expressed its readiness to commence the construction of an international gemstone market in Ibadan, upon the allocation of a 2 hectare of land by the Oyo State Government for the project.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, disclosed this in Ibadan, at the Akinyele Local Government, during an official hand over ceremony of the allocated land by the Oyo State government.
The minister, who explained that the project was part of an initiative of the Federal Government to facilitate its economic recovery plans across the nation due to consequences of COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy, stressing that the international gemstone market would not only boost the state’s economy but would also encourage foreign investment and impact on the southwest region.
He said further: “First and foremost, this is an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari’s part of the post-COVID-19 palliative that is being done, the mines and steel development sector is to develop the activity in the sector within the six regions of the country.”
“For Southwest region, we chose to promote gemstone trading which was already going on in Ibadan, in an informal market at Ojoo. So, the whole idea is to formalise it.”
“It’s an international market and of course, will enhance the trade that goes on there and the benefit that accrues to the government, both the state, the federal and of-course, the local government.”
“We saw the support of the Oyo State government to make things move, that is, to give us land and of course, this is what we are actualizing today. We have land now. We can begin to do what is necessary,” he said.
Arc. Adegbite equally expressed hope that with other things being equal, the project would be completed this year, 2021.
“What I can tell you is that we have the funding, the rest is human capacity, we’ll try to finish this as soon as possible. The government has done it’s best. They’ve given us the money to do it, now we are starting, you know how projects go, we have a site now, we are going to have an architect to design, we are going to have some other professionals in there, we are going to get the approvals, but this is a government project.”
“I assume we go through that phase very fast, but we need to do the construction itself and then of-course, commission it.”
“Before the year runs out, we should be here to do this, formalise and Commission this and I am sure the governor would probably be there, to cut the tape.”
In their separate remarks, the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Seun Ashamu and the Chairman of Oyo State Solid Mineral Development Agency, Mr Abiodun Oni, unanimously noted that the project complements the diversification plans of Governor Makinde’s administration and would surely boost the state’s IGR.
Oni said: “We have been able to reach an agreement with the Federal Government to partner, to set up a gemstone market here in Oyo State and what we are here to do today is to formally hand-over the land so that development can commence in earnest.”
“His Excellency, magnanimously with the ministry of lands has given out this two-hectare of land for this construction. So, this is geared towards increasing the Internally Generated Revenue, (I.G.R), providing employment for our people. We are going to have direct and indirect employment.”
In the same vein, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Tpl. Ademola Ajibola, in his response, assured issues of compensation as it concerns the 2 hectares of allocated lands have been duly settled.