By Kasim Sumaina
The federal government at the weekend encouraged state governments to invest in mining sector to increase their revenue base and create wealth for their people.
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, gave the encouragement when he paid a courtesy visit to the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on his two-day working visit to the state for the optimisation of revenue generation.
Ogah, in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, said he would also carry out an on-the-spot inspection of polluted stream water by coal mining activities in some communities in Okpokwu Local Government Area.
He noted that the federal government prompt response to the communities’ complaint was indicative of its determination to ensure that mining operations were carried out responsibly by mining companies
He urged the state to support the programmes of the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO), as it would enhance revenue generation from mining operations.
In his remarks, Ortom expressed the state willingness to support and adopt the federal government policies that would bring revenue growth and development to the state.
He solicited for the ministry’s collaboration in mineral exploration, disclosing that a lot of unexplored minerals abounded in the state.
Ortom also stated that Benue State Government would readily take advantage of any opportunity to create jobs and put “smiles on the faces of the Benue people.”
Earlier, the Federal Mines Officer, Agamah Simon Ogwuj, in his welcome address, affirmed the abundance of mineral resources, especially barite, in Benue State, as every local government area of the state has at least one mineral resource.
He said the state Mines Office, in its bid to eradicate illegal mining, has engaged in elaborate enlightenment of artisanal miners, which has resulted in getting them organised into cooperatives.