Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and Communication Technology/Cybercrime, Senator Yakubu Oseni (APC/Kogi Central) has demanded for special recognition and status for all solid minerals producing states in the country.
The lawmaker once again reiterated his stance on Monday in Abuja during a public hearing on his bill entitled “Bill for an Act to Establish the Solid Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission to Address the Environmental Devastation and Other Connected Matters.”
Senator Oseni, while addressing participants at the three-day public hearing, argued that mere presence of solid minerals across almost all states of the federation would do no one any good without appropriate legislation and political will to harness them for the benefits of the country.
Citing instances of some states endowed with the precious natural assets, the legislator said in Adamawa State, there are mineral deposits like Bentonite, Gypsium, Kaoline and Magnesite in commercial quantities just like Kogi State which has at least two minerals deposits in each of the twenty one local government areas.
While emphasising that the current pitiable contribution of solid minerals sector should be a source of concern to stakeholders, the lawmaker expressed optimism that the situation could still be turned around by redirecting the focus of revenue generation of the country from being fixated on a certain sector.
“As an economist, I am unsettled by the present pitiable contribution of solid mineral sector to the nation’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“While many have however attributed the situation to overdependence on crude oil, poor legal, regulatory and institutional framework and lack of up-to-date geoscience data that can facilitate investment decision making, I am ever optimistic that with the right legislation and political will which the present administration is ready to muster, the situation can be turned around,” he said.
Senator Oseni noted that among other benefits, the bill when passed into law would birth a commission that would be charged with the power to formulate policies and guidelines for development of the Solid Minerals Producing Area, implement all the measures approved for the development of the Solid Minerals Producing Areas by the Federal Government and the member states of the Commission.
He further added that the bill will identify factors inhibiting the development of the Solid Minerals Producing Areas and assist the member states in the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources of the solid minerals producing areas.
He subsequently urged all the participants to objectively contribute to the success of the Bill with a view to boosting the economic fortunes of the host communities and the country at large.