Take Total Control of Solid Mineral Exploration in States, FG Urged

Take Total Control of Solid Mineral Exploration in States, FG Urged

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

Chairman of DAS Energy Services Limited in Udu, near Warri, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has appealed to the federal government to take total control of the exploration of solid mineral resources similar to what is done in the oil and gas sector.

Addressing journalists in his office in Warri, Delta State, yesterday, Onuesoke, while citing the latest audit report from the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), lamented that the country had only realized a meager N496 billion from solid minerals in 13 years, despite its substantial deposits.

He reiterated that if properly harnessed, the solid mineral sector could generate more revenue for the country and compete with the economy’s mainstay, oil and gas.

His words: “Nigeria has over 34 mineral resources with great economic prospects in the mining sector. However, not

more than 5% of these economic minerals are currently being exploited, mainly strategic minerals. Meanwhile, the remaining 95% of solid minerals, although in demand, are largely unexploited or illegally explored.” 

To avoid significant revenue loss in the solid mineral sector, he advised the federal government to reform the sector by assuming total control, akin to the oil sector where revenue flows into the federal account.

According to him, “The federal government could also amend the solid mineral law to grant it full control and responsibility over the sector, as is the case with the oil sector.

“This can be achieved by reviewing the constitutional and legal provisions relating to mining, including Section 44 of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 and the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007.

“My recommendation is that resources from solid minerals in the North should be under the control of the federal government, just as with oil resources.

“What I am saying essentially is that when it comes to issues in the North, all solid minerals exploited there belong to them, while oil exploited in the Niger Delta region belongs to the entire nation.

“These questions need answers. Are the funds realized from solid minerals by individuals or state governors in the North remitted to the Ministry of Finance, as oil revenue is? No. Why is it that oil exploited in the Niger Delta region contributes to national income, but solid minerals do not?

The former governorship candidate of the PDP appealed to the South-South governors to invest in the petroleum sector by establishing their own oil drilling companies and collaborating with foreign partners to begin drilling for oil in their territories. 

This, he argued, would create job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths and generate revenue for the development of their states.

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