News

June 23, 2024

Creation of mineral resources agency, best interest of Ogun State — Abiodun

Abiodun

By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta

The Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Media and Strategy, Kayode Akinmade, on Sunday clarified that the decision of the Ogun State government to create a Mineral Resources Agency was in order and in the best interest of the state.

According to Akinmade, the creation of the agency was aimed at protecting the resources deposited in the state and entrenching decency and sanity in the mining sector for the common good of the people in the state.

He said, “The newly created agency is set up for mineral identification, geological mapping of the state, and data banking, in line with item 39 of the exclusive legislative list regulating mining activities in Nigeria”.

Akinmade, who disclosed this on Sunday while giving clarification on the restraining order of the government on mining mineral resources in the state, said, “while only the federal government can regulate mining activities across Nigeria, the mineral deposits are in states, and the mining activities occur in those states.

“Thus, a state can not effectively plan or govern if it does not enumerate the resources in its jurisdiction and map them to know where they are.

“For example, it will be a colossal loss to build a mass housing project on a site that has the largest deposit of limestone or natural gas. The way the State Government can avoid this is to know what minerals are in the State, where they are, and in what quantity.

“This knowledge helps the State attract investors. It also helps the State to effectively manage land so that sites that are by natural endowment suited for mineral exploration are not classified as residential or allotted for commercial purposes that waste the mining potential of the land.

“It also avoids clash of investments as we have had agricultural allottees clashing with mining allottees on the same or adjoining land with the mining activities hampering the agricultural and ecological benefits of the farmers”.

Akinmade explained that the newly created Mineral Resources Agency will interface with other MDAs to avoid clashes in future land allocation and ensure that prospective mining sites are preserved and uninhibited for investors who, if interested, would eventually approach the Federal Government for mining licenses and operations.

He added, “In reaching this decision, Ogun State was guided by the precedent of oil-producing states who, despite petroleum being on the Exclusive Legislative List, have set up ministries of oil and gas.

“These ministries do not regulate petroleum or conflict with the DPR’s regulatory mandate over the petroleum industry.

“Rather, they focus on host community development, conflict avoidance and resolution, maximising petroleum participation in the State (attracting investors) and warehousing statistics. This is the same model that the Ogun State Agency will adopt.

“Additionally, we must remember the recent unfortunate explosion in Ibadan, Oyo State that destroyed several properties and claimed lives, because of the actions of miners operating in the State under federal license without interface with or recourse to the State Government at all.

“A State Government that bears the responsibility to secure lives and properties must also have the means to know what the threats to that security are, the identity and nature of the actors exacerbating those threats, and the level of the public’s exposure to those threats.”

The special adviser noted that while mining is exclusively federal, the security of lives and property is concurrent and State Governments must know the businesses and investors who have obtained federal licenses to import and store dynamites, noxious chemicals, and other harmful materials that are incidental to mining.

He also stated that the Ogun State Government has the constitutional right to regulate chieftaincy matters in the State.

According to him, if persons who are subjected to chieftaincy laws are breaching the peace or undermining the public good, the state government can call such persons to order.

“In doing so, Ogun State is not regulating the activity but the people. As an example, the Central Bank does not regulate cryptocurrencies (which are digital assets under the SEC’s purview). However, the CBN regulates banks and can order banks to not support crypto transactions, as it did in the past.

“Mining remains the Federal Government’s exclusive mandate, but by the new order, Ogun State Government has barred state chiefs subject to state law, from participating in that space. This is in order,” he added.