By; ALEX UABGBAOJE, Kaduna.
As part of its contribution to set up a roadmap for the development of engineering minerals and solid minerals sector in Nigeria, Materials Science and Technology Society of Nigeria (MSN), on Tuesday commenced a 4-day Conference to deliberate on the way forward in the sector.
In a passionate appeal while delivering his open remarks, chairman of the occasion who is also the BOT chairman of MSN, Engr. Kunle Ogunade, called on the Federal Government to legalise activities of local Minners in the country rather than arrest them.
He emphasised that such minners ought to be encouraged to use their local technology, adding “the Minister of Science and Technology, Materials Science and Technology Society of Nigeria could come to their aid to mine as much as possible all the minerals that are under the ground.
“This country is endowed with numerous mineral resources that are not tapped, it is about time we look inward and go back and make effort to make more money than even the crude oil.”
Ogunade, noted that part of the stumbling blocks hindering foreign investment in the country is that there are too many conditionalities and modalities in Nigeria, saying, “too many paper works, too much royalties. And the atmosphere for investment in the country is not really conducive, therefore as a nation, we really need to attract foreign investors to this country by making life a bit easier than our competing Nations.”
The MSN 15th Annual Conference is currently holding in Zaria, Kaduna State with a theme: “Engineering Materials and Solid Minerals Development: a panacea to the National Economic Diversification.”
In his keynote address, Vice Chancellor Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Professor Ibrahim Garba, enumerated some of the reason why there is still no thriving Minning industry in Nigeria despite the nation’s response to attract it’s own share of mineral exploration as follow;
“Negative perception of endowment relative to neighbouring countries and regions in Africa, no enduring exploration, poor mining sector governance, despite excellent provisions in mining laws and regulations, widespread corruption and lawlessness.
“Weak federal structure and diversity of land tenure systems, resources curse from the pin boom and many more.”
The Don however suggests that for the sector to be revived, the nation need to “generate more and reliable geoscience data/information. Promote geoscience research to demonstrate prospectivity of the Nigerian geological terrain, provide efficient and effective mining sector governance in mineral rights management and minefield inspection and control.
“Enforce the provisions of the mining law and regulations, involve and educate state and local governments to promote mining development. Undertake aggressive mining investment promotion.”
On his part, National president of the Society, Professor Salaudeen Ahmed said the theme of the conference is particularly appropriate at a time the country is facing serious economic challenges.
“In fact, from the economic indices, the country is in recession. These are mainly due to the global fall in oil price and reduced oil production resulting from local challenges.
“It is now generally agreed that we need to diversify our economy to assist our exit from the current state. The abundant solid mineral resources which the country is blessed with are surely one of the areas to diversify our economy. We need to give the needed attention to the development of engineering materials from solid minerals.
“We need to develop the know-how and infrastructure to forge the way forward for our global competitiveness.”
Communique is expected at the end of the conference which will form part of the new road map in the sector.
By; ALEX UABGBAOJE, Kaduna.