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April 20, 2024
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Gov. Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau (5th from right); Gwom Gbong Jos, Da Jacob Gyang (6th from right) after their conferment as fellows of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society during their 59th Annual Conference on Tuesday in Jos.

Traditional rulers lament abject poverty in Plateau mining communities

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By Martha Agas

Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Buba, on Tuesday lamented pervasive poverty in communities hosting mining sites in Plateau.

Da Buba, Chairman, Plateau Council of Traditional Rulers and Emirs, expressed the worries in Jos when he addressed the 59th Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigeria Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS).

He expressed regret that the rich and powerful had taken over mining to the detriment of their host communities, which they had left in penury.

Buba urged mining companies to factor in their host communities in their operations as the operations had rendered the host communities vulnerable to insecurity.

“Make sure that the localities also enjoy the good of the land,” he admonished.

In his speech, Plateau Gov., Caleb Mutfwang, also said mining communities had been experiencing environmental degradation, while the residents had been exposed to health risks.

“We want responsible mining development as we are worried about human health and environmental degradation.

“It is hard to distinguish between legal and illegal mining; a lot of criminalities goes on in the sector,” the governor said.

Mutfwang decried the fact that residential areas were being invaded under the guise of artisanal mining.

He said he received a report recently indicating that at least 36 persons lost their lives at mining sites in Plateau.

Mutfwang urged for good governance in the mining sector to address its challenges, particularly through robust synergy between relevant government agencies and the private sector.

He said Plateau had signed two bills into law to regulate the mining sector and open it to the private sector.

The governor noted that in addition to being blessed with mineral resources, Plateau has a huge potential for generating hydroelectric power and the capacity to develop solar energy.

In his remarks, NMGS President, Prof. Akinade Olatunji, said quackery and the underutilisation of relevant professionals was the bane of the mining sector in Nigeria.

He said the 59th annual conference of the NMGS aimed at providing solutions to the myriad of geosciences challenges faced by Nigeria.

In his goodwill message, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, described the NMGS as a critical partner in the provision of crucial technical and professional services needed in the solid minerals sector.

Alake’s message was delivered by the Director-General of the Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office, Mr Obadiah Nkom.

He urged mining scientists to continuously improve on their skills so that they could compete favourably with their colleagues from other parts of the world.

He added that the society should also be intentional on building a good foundation for the next generation of mining engineers and geologists.

The News of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference with the theme: “Emerging global perspectives, trends and sustainable development of minerals and energy resources’’ will end on March 22.

Highlights of the opening was the conferment of honorary fellowships on the Gov. Mutfwang and the Gbong Gwom Jos. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Alli Hakeem

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