Francis Kadiri, Abuja.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr Dele Alake says the Federal Government is determined to end illegal mining through effective synergy with security agencies.
A statement signed by the Head, Press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Alaba Balogun said the minister gave the assurance at the graduation ceremony of the third batch of jewelry-making trainees, organized by the ministry, in conjunction with the World Bank-Assisted Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) Project.
Mr Alake expressed concern that illegal mining has deprived the country of substantial revenue, and assured that it would be nipped in the bud under the political will and firmness of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
While hinting on strategic measures that will be deployed including effective collaboration with security agencies, the minister affirmed that there will be no sacred cows.
Speaking on the capacity building programme for 30 trainees on Jewelry making and design, conceived under the ongoing minerals sector support for economic diversification project of the Ministry, the minister stated that Nigerians have no business going abroad to buy jewelry in view of her large potential to contribute immensely to jewelry-making global market.
He said: “The solid minerals sector is now the focal point of generating revenue for the country, it is now the next petroleum of Nigeria.”
”It is a known fact that Nigeria with its large population has a huge potential for jewellery and it is imperative to create a local jewellery industry that would substantially meet local demand for jewellery products, increase import substitution, create jobs and boost the export value of Nigeria’s gemstones and jewellery.”
To this end, Mr Alake congratulated the 30 graduands for completing the Master Training Programme successfully, stressing ”It is my belief that the Jewellery industry when fully harnessed, could contribute significantly to national economic growth by creating massive job opportunities.”
Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Mary Ogbe, represented by the Director, Human Resource Management, Mohammed Suleiman, commended the minister for his support which enabled the completion of the empowerment project within his short time in the ministry.
Earlier, the Project Coordinator, (Mindiver) said the policy on value-addition has been prioritized by the ministry, stressing, jewellery making is part of the strategies for implementing the downstream value addition policy.