Alake, Governors to Form Joint Mining Committee

Folalumi Alaran in Abuja

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, met 32 state governors on Wednesday and forged a consensus to form a joint committee to resolve mining issues between both parties.
The meeting, hosted by the Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and Kwara State Governor, AbdulRasak Abdulrahman, marked a high point in the minister’s efforts to apply the principle of co-operative federalism to resolve interferences in mining matters on the exclusive legislative list.
Addressing the governors, Alake stated that the parley underscored the commitment of the federal government to partner sub-nationals and get their input in ongoing efforts to reposition the mining sector.

Reiterating that solid minerals belong in the exclusive legislative list according to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Alake advised that states must get approval of the ministry before making policy pronouncements on mining activities in their domain.

“Our actions, both at federal and state levels, should be guided by the constitution and done procedurally so that we don’t appear to the unsuspecting public as if we are at loggerheads. To ensure that we remove contentious areas, we announced that states are free to apply for mining licenses so that they can become critical stakeholders in the industry and have a sense of belonging. Through that substantial involvement, we expect that they will  preserve the operating environment of mining in their state, apart from deriving direct revenue from it,” Alake added.
The minister also commended sub-nationals that heeded the charge of the federal government and applied for licenses to operate as a limited liability company to mine resources in their states.

According to him, “I have had to approve licenses for some states that brought their applications forward. I made no hesitation in approving such licenses because we made a policy announcement to support the active participation of federating units. This is just part of our efforts to accommodate federating units and ensure that they benefit from our God-given resources.”
Citing the membership of the states’ Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO), Alake emphasised that with five members and the Chairman, nominated by governors, the input of states is considerable within the 10-man committee charged with management of mining activities and addressing attendant environmental issues of mining operations.

The minister sued for cooperation of the governors with the federal government’s efforts to reform the mining sector and ensure that it contributes substantially to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), boosting revenue to the federation account.

In his remarks, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State stressed the need for states and the federal government to work out a template for collaboration, noting that states should have an input in the process of issuance of mining licenses.

Zamfara State Governor, Dauda Lawal, and his Niger State counterpart, Umar Bago, towed the same line whilst also urging the minister to consider a one-on-one consultation with state governors to address the peculiarities of challenges facing the mining sector in their states.

Conclusively, the minister and the governors forum agreed to strengthen engagement and explore a workable template for collaboration to ensure bottlenecks to mining development are dismantled.

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