Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has sounded the alarm regarding the exploitation of Nigeria’s solid minerals by foreign entities, leaving Nigerian citizens with meager returns.
During a public policy dialogue on Nigeria’s minerals and mining legislation at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja, Sule emphasized the urgent need for institutional reforms to ensure the sector benefits Nigerians.
Sule highlighted the stark contrast between the compensation received by a Nasarawa community, a mere N700m, and the lucrative earnings from minerals like lithium, which can reach up to $76,000 per metric ton.
He stressed that without substantial reforms to benefit Nigerians, the nation’s economic future is at stake.
Jonathan Gaza, Chairman of the House Committee on Solid Minerals, outlined key proposals in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) Bill, including allocating five per cent of total mineral revenue to host communities and establishing a Mines Inspection and Environmental Agency for enhanced oversight.
Additionally, the bill aims to establish a Solid Minerals Development Company with 75 per cent private sector ownership and prioritize community development and environmental concerns.
Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu emphasized the importance of the amendment bill in unlocking Nigeria’s mineral wealth, addressing challenges such as insecurity and inadequate infrastructure, and diversifying the economy.
Kalu cited the 2016-2025 Mining Industry Development Roadmap, targeting a 3 per cent GDP contribution by 2025, as evidence of progress, citing projects like the Segilola Gold Project in Osun State as examples of private sector-led initiatives driving economic growth and investment.