Spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Charles Aniagwu, has said the party’s Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, was prepared to collaborate with states of the Federation to revamp Nigeria’s mining sector.
The campaign Spokesperson said this when he appeared as a guest on the African Independent Television Programme “Focus Nigeria” Policy Dialogue with the theme: “Ending Illegal Mining in Nigeria” on Wednesday.
Aniagwu said the party’s Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, were very clear that industrialisation and exploitation of mineral resources would be given priority in their administration.
The campaign Spokesperson added that the PDP administration would collaborate with stakeholders in the mining industry particularly the states to make the sector work for the good of the country.
According to him, it will not augur well for the Federal Government to seat down in Abuja and grant licences through the Ministry of Solid Minerals to an individual without determining the quantity of the particular mineral resource in the place.
He said, “In doing so, Atiku-Okowa recognised the provision of the Minerals Mining Act of 2007 particularly Chapter 1, Part 1 which states very clearly that ownership of solid minerals is vested in the Federal Government and this means the Federal Government is saddled with a whole lot of responsibilities including the implementation of the Act.
“But Atiku says that in doing that he is going to collaborate with states just as he has also said that he will devolve powers so that in granting licences to determine who should be involved in mining activities and how such products will be marketed, that the states should be carried along.
“It is not enough to collect royalties for licences without determining the quantity of deposits in that environment, Atiku said he would not operate like that because it will not give value to the Federation.
“Atiku believes that just the same way Petroleum products is giving us resources and helping us run our economy, the same way solid minerals should be able to play a very critical role and for that to happen, key stakeholders must be critically involved to perform their roles to ensure the success of the sector.
“When the states are involved, it will be easier to properly police the environment and deal with the issues of insecurity surrounding mining activities in the country.
“When the states are involved in registering or licencing those involved in mining activities it will be a win-win situation for the person mining, the state where the resources is deposited and the Federal Government that is vested with the ownership of the product,” he said.
Aniagwu who is also Commissioner for Information in Delta State said before the discovery of oil, Enugu used to be called the “Coal City”, Jos “Tin City” and Lokoja had a whole lot of iron deposits.
He equally said for the country to generate enough revenue from the sector, there must be a correct data of the solid minerals in the country.
Anaigwu stressed that “Atiku-Okowa administration will implement the laws, bring in reforms such that at the end of the day the Federation is totally involved and not leaving it in the hands of the artisanal miners alone.
“Beyond the mining, Atiku will also bring industrialisation to the sector to ensure the country benefits from the entire solid minerals value-chain.
“All of these would be taken care of in the Atiku-Okowa Presidency by industrialising the sector and improve the nation’s earnings from the solid minerals industry.”
He maintained that Atiku-Okowa have the political will to implement the 2007 Mining Act and so review the provisons of the Act to accommodate changing realities adding that the law would catch up with anyone not licenced and proceeded to mine what belongs to the Federal Government.
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