Commends 21 trainees on gemstones, jewelry production
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, weekend, expressed hope over Nigeria’s gemstones and jewelry industry as 21 trainees graduate from the Gemstones and Jewelry Training School of Abuja Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Olamilekan made the statement while commending the dedication, commitment and doggedness of the trainees during the period of the capacity building.
He said they were the first batch of the gemstone and jewelry making capacity building at the Abuja Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and explained that their seven months training was part of the Federal Government’s efforts to drastically reduce exportation of raw solid minerals, and it was geared towards facilitating local production of gemstones and jewelries for generating high foreign exchange when exported.
He added that the trainees would train other young people, create employment and wealth for Nigerians.
He said: “This programme was designed to impart knowledge on you, so that we can make jewelries in Nigeria.
“We are going to retain our gold and gemstones in Nigeria, add value to it, sell to our people and export to other countries.
“Nigeria will soon be a gemstone and jewelry destination for other countries and that in no distant time.
“We will export finished jewelries which would increase the sector’s contribution to the GDP.”
Meanwhile, the Minister also made it known that the Gemstones and Jewelry trainees would feed into the gold souk and the gemstone market being constructed in Kano and Ibadan respectively.
While addressing the graduands, Adegbite charged them to impart the knowledge they have acquired to others in their communities.
“The best gift you can impart on anyone is knowledge and this is what you have been endowed with.
“What you have acquired in the last seven months is to help yourselves to be engaged meaningfully and fruitfully but more importantly, to help this country to move forward, create employment and combat youth restiveness” he said.
However, he assured them of having where they would start to apply the skills and knowledge, and also impart same to other youth.
“You will not be cast adrift, we are working with your State Governments to provide space where you can operate while we empower you with equipments and materials to practice your skills”, he said.
According to the Minister, the second phase of the training is in progress.
Earlier speaking, the Project Coordinator, Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) Project, Engr Sallim Salaam, commended the Adegbite-led Ministry on its commitment and support for the training, which eventually had brought about success of the project.
Sallam also acknowledged the doggedness of the 21 beneficiaries as they were all focused and performed well during the programme.
However, he disclosed that plans are on the way for the 21 trainees for advanced training.
In closing remarks, the Senior Technical Adviser, MINDIVER Project, Linus Adie, said in the next few years, the Minister will recall the day the beneficiaries graduated and be very proud that he put in all his energy to ensure that the Ministry and MINDIVER see the programme come to a reality.
Adie said the essence of the capacity building programme is for Nigerians to stop buying jewelries outside the country.
He also said he was happy to be “part and parcel” of the MINDIVER and how the Minister has driven them to be what it is today.
He also congratulated the Minister for the award given to Nigeria Mining Cadastre last week.
“We are very proud that it is the activities of the MINDIVER that led to the Mining Cadestra winning the award.
“We have no doubt that you will continue to lead us to any height we wish to attain”, he added.
One of the graduands from Edo States, Jessica Ogievaz who spoke on behalf of her fellow trainees, said they have gained so much skills and knowledge throughout the programme, and that as the first beneficiaries of the programme, they are aware that a lot of eyes are on them to show what they have learnt.
Hopefully, with a good empowerment, they will be able to strengthen the local jewelry sector of Nigeria which is the goal of the project.