By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The Federal Government is collaborating with the Nasarawa State Government, to ensure security around areas known to have gold deposits along the border of Nasarawa and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Minister for Solid Minerals Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, disclosed this when he hosted the Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, in his office, on Tuesday.
According to the Minister, the Federal Government has expended N15bn on minerals exploration across the country, under the ministry’s National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project, with tracts of gold deposits discovered between Nasarawa and Abuja.
He further disclosed that already, the Federal Government is marketing the data gathered from the exploration project internationally, with investors showing interest to come in and mine gold through proper licensing.
The Minister however raised concern over perceived illegalities associated with gold mining, especially banditry as is currently happening in Zamfara State, where the state government has to place a ban on gold mining activities.
Architect Adegbite said the Federal Government is taking adequate measures to prevent banditry and other illegalities along the gold sites on the Nasarawa/FCT border.
“We want to nip this in the bud, we don’t want banditry to come to Nasarawa and Abuja on the trail of gold, as is happening in Zamfara unfortunately.
“We don’t want a repeat of that in Nasarawa, so we are going to be working with security agencies and possibly including the military, to make sure that we prevent such occurrence in this axis,” the Minister said.
While thanking the Governor for his frequent visits to the ministry, the Minister said they have been discussing the matter with Engineer Sule, stressing that the ministry is taking steps to prevent banditry in this axis.
He promised to also nip in the bud, whatever that is happening there that is undesirable.
Responding, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, thanked the Minister, as well as the Federal Government for undertaking the minerals exploration exercise across the country and the amount of data generated from the exercise.
The Governor said his administration strongly believes that the future of this country is in minerals, not necessarily in oil and gas anymore, stressing that as Nigeria deviates from oil and gas gradually, the nation is going into minerals.
According to Engineer Sule, God has blessed Nigeria such that every state has one form of mineral deposit or the other and it will not be the issue of you have, we don’t have, like under the oil regime.
To this end, the Governor said his administration is working very hard to ensure the safety of the people, safety of mining site, as well as ensure that whatever activity is going there is being done legally.
Engineer Sule however expressed concern on ongoing illegal gold mining activities in Uke, in Karu Local Government Area, urging the Minister to send a team to that area to find out the situation of things.
“There are very good companies in Nasarawa that are doing very good work, for instance Kenyang Mining Company.
“We have just finished the construction of the road for them, from Mararaba Udege. They are very excited. We have genuine, legitimate mining companies, that are serious investors similar to Kenyang and are working and we will continue to support them,” the Governor said.
Engineer Sule further appreciated the Minister for the good work he has been doing.
“We are concerned about the safety of our people because as you rightly mentioned, we don’t want to create similar situation in Zamfara State, especially in a local government area that shares the same border with the FCT,” the Governor stated.