Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
Disturbed by activities of illegal miners in parts of Bauchi State and the damage to the environment in the face of dwindling resources available to government for executing projects, Governor Mohammed Abubakar has warned that government will soon start clamping down on illegal miners with a view to making the sector profitable to both the government and the miners.
Represented by the Deputy Governor Nuhu Gidado, the governor who stated this while receiving a delegation from the revenue mobilisation, allocation and fiscal commission led by a federal commissioner, Barrister Tukur Batutar on Tuesday, expressed concern that illegal miners who destroy the environment through their activities merely work for the foreigners who buy the illegally mined mineral resources at low costs and export them to where they are bought and processed without commensurate profits accruing to Nigeria or the state where they are mined.
The governor observed that minerals are the major alternative the state has a substitute to oil, pointing out that illegal miners do not know amount of loss the causing the economy of the state and nation as well as the value of the minerals the state is losing to their activities.
He said the State has gone into partnerships with many foreign consultants from China, Hong Kong, Czech Republic and Lebanon that have interest in solid minerals that abound in different parts of the State.
Abubakar stressed that with the passage into law of the law on public-private-partnership, the State has opened up windows of mutual investment opportunities for prospect investors to exploit, “especially in this sector of solid mineral that has more returns on investments than oil”, adding that the government will partner the Commission in maximising the exploitation of other sources of non-oil revenues for the State.
He recalled that the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who visited the state recently, said the President has directed the Corporation to resume oil search in the state. The governor expressed confidence that with this sincere renewed effort, Bauchi is sure of becoming an oil producing State.
Earlier, the federal commissioner, Batutar who noted that Bauchi is one of the states that are heavily endowed with solid minerals, pointed out that because of the poor state of the nation’s economy.