Mineral Resources,States free to exploit it -Dr. Kayode Fayemi Minister of solid mineral

 

State governments are now free to
explore and exploit the mineral resources in their domains provided such
is done legally without interfering with locations already given to
other stakeholders, the Federal Government has said.
The government stated that although it
had exclusive rights to mine minerals across the country, the
constitution encourages states to either set up their own investment
corporations or partner private investors to exploit minerals in their
domains.

The Minister of Mines and Steel
Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, stated these in Abuja while playing host
to the Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr.
Wale Oluwo, who led a team from the state to tender some requests before
the Federal Government.
Reacting to statements by the
commissioner on the enormous minerals in Lagos, Fayemi said the state
was free to explore and exploit the resources since such activities
would provide jobs for Nigerians and increase the Federal Government’s
revenue through the payment of royalties
 He said, “That is one of the points I
have tried to emphasise about governance when people talk about the
exclusivity of the mineral rights in the Nigerian constitution. Yes, it
is exclusive; but there is absolutely nothing in the law; in fact, it is
being encouraged in the law for states to either set up their own
investment corporations or go into partnership with the private sector
in order to exploit what is available to them in their states.
“This is provided the coordinate has not
been given to another interested stakeholder before application comes
from the state. This is very important for you to know. So, our primary
interest is that these resources are explored and exploited.
“Once you do that within the law, the
government will at least get royalties from you, get taxes paid
legitimately, have people employed in this area. This achieves our
objective of alternative revenue generation for the country and job
creation for our people.”
The minister stressed that there was no
way the Federal Government would succeed in minerals development if it
failed to collaborate with the states.
“Yes, mineral exploitation is exclusive
to the Federal Government, but the reality is that land ownership is
also exclusive to the state governments,” he added.
Fayemi told the visiting team that the Federal Government would be interested in the minerals found in Lagos State.
He said, “We will look at it and verify
it independently and see what can then follow based on your request and
for the overall interest of the country. Some of these mineral resources
that you have found in commercial quantities are Greenfield.
“If it is Greenfield, there will be ways
of going about it so that we can achieve the original point I made,
which is that the state can benefit and if the state chooses to explore
it, there is nothing that bars the state from doing that.”
On the minerals in Lagos, the
commissioner said limestone, silica, clay and a few other resources
abound in large commercial quantities in the country’s largest
industrial city state.
Oluwo said, “We estimate that we have
limestone in the region of 12 million metric tonnes around the Epe area.
We also estimate that we have silica sand of up to 200 billion cubic
metric tonnes around the Ibeju-Lekki area. And the third one, which is
clay, is about 180 billion cubic metric tonnes around the Lagos East.
“We’ve been carrying out various
geological surveys, both aerial and on the ground, and we believe that
data is key. So, when you are in a position to make that decision as to
gathering data with respect to where solid minerals can be identified,
we are assuring you that in Lagos, we will put our resources behind your
efforts.”

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