SHEHU Abui, the Danmasani of Marwa, Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State, has urged the Federal Government to formulate policies to regulate the country’s solid minerals and mining sector.
He made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja, saying that mining contributed significantly to the country’s economy before the discovery of oil in commercial qualities.
“If you go to Plateau and some parts of Kaduna state, mining had started, even in Zamfara and Kastina, though not regulated, they need to be regulated by the government just like the oil industry.
“The truth is that some 50, 60 years ago, Nigeria was very dependent on mining, for example in Plateau, we had tin mining and in the East, we had coal mining.
“It was very important for the economy in addition to cocoa production in the West and groundnut and cotton in the North and palm oil in the East.
“If you go to Plateau now, you will see where tin was excavated,” Abui, a former Editor-in-Chief of NAN said.
He said that though mining contributed a lot to the country`s economy in the past, it was ignored when the production of oil came.
Abui said it was, however, heartwarming that people had started going back privately into mining, but needed to be regulated.
He maintained that there was huge mining potential in a country that could boost its economy and development if effectively harnessed, saying that all that was needed was political will.
He expressed optimism that with people like the newly elected president of the Nigeria Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), Mr Obadiah Nkom, there was hope for the country’s solid mineral sector.
Abui who said he had known Nkom over the years as a man determined to explore the sector, said with him as NMGS president, results would be produced in the solid mineral sector.
He expressed happiness that with the election of Nkom as the 30th president of the NMGS, the country`s solid mineral potential would be effectively harnessed.
“He is not just an engineer with determination to make things happen, but a traditional title holder, he is the Ajia of Marwa in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
“He had been identified a long time ago as somebody who is determined to serve the country and his immediate community,” Abui said.
NAN reports that Nkom, also the Director-General Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (MCO), was elected as the NMGS 30th president in March at its 55th Annual International Conference in Enugu.
Nkom at his investiture on Saturday recalled that mining was one of the main-stay of the country’s economy, leading to the establishment and development of cities such as Jos and Enugu where generations were raised.
He noted that the country prior to the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantity was known for its tin, columbite, and coal.
According to him, political will and a determined populace desirous of forgoing current short-time pleasure and comfort for a secure and sustainable future are required to achieve the full potential of the country’s solid mineral deposits.
“To achieve this, there is the need for the Federal Government to formulate a licensing policy to encourage oil companies to become petrochemical producers rather than extractors and exporters of crude.’’