Stakeholders canvass equal ownership of mineral resources
State governments have called on the Federal Government to resolve the issue of solid mineral deposits in their domain so that they could begin to benefit the royalties accruing from them.
Speaking at the National Council on Minerals Resources in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, they said when this is done, the squabble between the two would be laid to rest, and they would enjoy a 50-50 arrangement.
But, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr.Abdulkadir Mu’azu, argued that minerals are on exclusive list, and until the Constitution is amended, the hiccup will remain.
He also explained that natural assets belong to the people, but in terms of payment of royalties it goes to the Federation Account, adding that government will only implement 13 per cent mineral derivation to states.
Another speaker, Emem Ibokette of Akwa Ibom State, observed that illegal miners are operating in the states, with attendant negative impacts on the environment.
She, however, called on both parties to resolve the lingering conflicts to promote peace and cooperation, to enable the country realise its mission to drive domestic industrialisation and economic growth.
Also contributing, Ignatius Okey of Ebonyi State, regretted that after mineral exploration, it is the state that will bear the brunt, saying: “We have abandoned mining sites yet to be reclaimed in the state.”
Also, Prof. Oyinloye Akindele of Ekiti State University, in a paper, said the federal government is aware of the challenges, hence the aggressive efforts to develop solid minerals in the country.
According to him, apart from the fact that there are contradictions of a true federalism, the state governments that own the land should equally own and control the development of mining and mineral resources in their states.
Patrick Ojeka, Director, Department of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining, argued that sharing of royalties will not work now, except in future when the Constitution would have been reviewed to end the agitation.
Similarly, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environmental Resources, Usman Abu, maintained that the federal government has exclusive right to minerals, and the Council will abide by Nigeria’s constitution.
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