By Olawale Akinremi
Prof. Olatunji Akinade, an expert in solid minerals development, has urged government to strive harder to block the leakages hindering the country from getting the desired gains from the sector.
Akinade told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Tuesday that it was important for Nigeria to implement the road map for solid minerals development.
The lecturer in the Department of Geology of University of Ibadan said the road map had been designed for some years now.
“If the solid minerals that are mined in Nigeria are not allowed to be taken out for processing, then youth unemployment will be greatly addressed,” he said.
Akinade however lauded Mr Dele Alake, the new Minister of Solid Minerals Development, for the steps he has taken since his appointment and urged him to ensure the leakages were blocked.
”There is abundant revenue that is capable of making Nigeria self-reliant in solid minerals mining, if those in charge of the sector can ensure that the leakages that have been observed are blocked.
“The government must insist that the minerals being mined are also processed within Nigeria so that they will be another source of an employment provider for youths.
“Of what benefit will it be if certain solid minerals are mined in Nigeria only to be taken to foreign countries like China, the U.S. or any European country to be processed and resold to us in finished products,” he said.
The don, however, pointed out that it was also commendable to note that ceramic was now being processed around the Sagamu area of Ogun.
He said there was the need for more funding of the mining industry in order to increase the exploration of solid minerals.
Akinade said the developed countries were still spending huge amount on exploration to discover new solid minerals, and he urged the authorities in Nigeria to do same.
He called on government to put technocrats in strategic places to help in driving the vision of a great solid mining industry.
“For instance, the idea of a mine police is now on the table and I advise that people who will police various mining sites must be experts.
“I mean experts that can identify quality solid minerals and not those that cannot differentiate a good solid mineral or those that can be bribed,” the don said.
Akinade noted that it was possible for a miner to deceive somebody who could not differentiate solid minerals as Nigeria had lost lots of money due to such situation.
He added that there was also the need to carry geological scientists along from the beginning till the end of all the processes. (NAN)
Edited by Chinyere Bassey and Olawale Alabi