By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
The North East Zone can play a significant role in the economic development of the country if the abundant solid mineral resources and potentiality for hydro-carbon deposits it is endowed with can be harnessed in proper and coordinated manner.
This was the assertion of a geologist with the University of Maiduguri, Prof. Sa’idu Baba who assured that the zone is geologically underlain by the Migmaite-Gneiss Complex (MGC) and Older granites (Pan-African granitoids) of the Precambrian Basement Complex.
Prof. Baba submitted that the zone also has the Jurassic Younger Granites and the sediments of the Cretaceous-Tertiary Chad (Bornu) Basin and Northern (Upper) Benue Trough with minor volcanic that cut across all ages.
Baba, in a paper to the just concluded zonal outreach and stakeholders workshop organized by NEITI held in Bauchi, explained that solid minerals of variable types occur variously in all these rock types while the sedimentary basins indicate high prospects for petroleum accumulation.
Accordingly, he said, five out of the seven solid minerals namely Baryte, Coal, Lead/Zinc and Iron-ore designated by the Federal government as strategic for national economic development abound in significant abundance in the North East Zone.
The geologist said however that the North East Zone ranks 5th in production of solid mineral resources and consequently contributes less to the national economy by way of royalty payments.
He disclosed that Adamawa State has the highest recorded abundance of the overall solid minerals while Bauchi and Gombe states lead in metallic and energy mineral abundance respectively.
Studies have indicated that both the Bornu (Nigerian sector of the Chad Basin) and the Northern Benue Trough possess the essential elements required for generation, accumulation and trapping of hydro-carbon as indicated by gas accumulation and migrated oil in some drilled wells.
Baba stressed the need for state governments in the North East to take the initiative of confronting the various challenges facing minerals exploration and exploitation including generation of geo-scientific data, financing of exploration and mining projects, and security, among others.
The Bauchi capacity building workshop was attended by among others, civil society organizations, the media, professional associations, unions, and opinion leaders as watch dogs, ethical guardians and advocates.