The minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite, has stressed mining of minerals remains the exclusive right of the federal government. The minister made this known while briefing newsmen on the year’s virtual Nigerian Mining Week billed to hold from 12 to 16 October, 2020, yesterday in his office in Abuja.
Adegbite, who was responding to a question about the recent gold purchase by the Zamfara State Governor, said he was doing the right thing but portraying it wrongly. He said the governor was only trying to prevent the artisanal miners from selling their gold to bandits when it became clear those bandits sell at higher price across the borders and even exchange the products for firearms.
“What the government of Zamfara is doing which is quite commendable is that they are intervening to wean these people from the bandits. They put a premium such that if the bandits buy at N5,000/gramme, for instance, they sell to the government at N15, 000. So, rather than allow the bandits to continue to buy the minerals from the people, government is acquiring the gold,” he added.
Adegbite also said the ministry was strongly looking into the issue of the difficulties experienced by miners in accessing the N5 billion with the Bank of Industry (BoI) to serve as source of loans to them with a view to making it easier, adding they are trying to lower the bar in terms of the maximum amount borrowable for more entries.