23 September 2014, Lagos – Following the surge in illegal activities in the Solid Minerals sector, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Musa Sada, has condemned the continued smuggling of mineral resources out of the country.
Sada, made the condemnation last week during the visit of Oyo State delegation to the ministry’s headquarters led by the Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo.
Sada said: “One of the biggest problems we have in mineral exploitation in the country is smuggling, and gemstone is the biggest victim, as 80 per cent of this mineral that is exploited in Nigeria is smuggled and that is worrisome.
“We are looking at setting up three mineral buying centres; it does not have to be gemstone, it depends on what minerals are being exploited in each state, and it is a pilot programme.”
He further noted that 80 per cent of the gemstone being exploited was done in Oyo state, thus resulting in the creation of large number of value chain.
The minister also said the Ministry was collaborating with private investors, the Miners Association of Nigeria, and other relevant stakeholders in setting up mineral buying centres, with Oyo State as one of the locations.
The Minister commended the Oyo State Government for its zeal and commitment towards the development of the country’s minerals and metals sector.
He noted that Oyo is one of the centres of mineral activities in Nigeria, which has been issued with 173 mineral titles, 87 exploration licences, six mineral licences, five small scale mining licences, and 75 quarry licences.
He then assured the delegation of the Ministry’s cooperation and assistance in ensuring that Oyo continued to take its lead in the development of the country’s minerals and metals sector.
Earlier in his remarks, the State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, represented by his deputy, Adeyemo, said their mission was to seek for more collaboration with the Ministry.
Particular interest is on the establishment of an International Gemstone Buying Centre as well as the development of its marble deposit located at Igbeti community in Oyo State.