The Senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial district in the National Assembly, Mohammed Ogoshi Onawo has said that his Bill on Solid Minerals will discourage foreigners from dominating the mining sector.
Speaking with journalists at the national assembly, the Senator said the first reading of the bill would be taken today by the Senate.
He said it was unhealthy for the country and the environment to allow foreigners to take control of its mining sector, stating that apart from the need to strengthen the local players in the system, the environment also needed to be protected from unethical use currently ongoing.
He said the practice of allowing the sector’s domination by the foreigners had pauperized the locals.
He said: “By tomorrow (today) my Bill will be taken for the first time in the Senate. It is a Bill that seeks for the creation of Solid Minerals Development Commission.
“We are rich people but the way we harness these riches pushes our people into more poverty.
“We allow too many foreigners to dominate our Solid Minerals sector. Foreigners go into our villages at will to mine our mineral resources and take them away in raw form without adding value to them here, thereby taking the jobs away from our people.
“This is especially so with the Chinese; they degrade our lands and later leave and abandon us to face the ruination of their actions. So, the Bill will among other things seek to remedy these unwholesome activities.
“We are not taxing these foreigners enough and we are not protecting our local players enough. So we call on Nigerians to come forward during the Public Hearing on the Bill and contribute on how we can make good law to protect and empower us the most.”
On the removal of subsidy, Sen Onawo said though he believed the action was taken with good intentions, the timing was wrong.
Saying he was in opposition but would not participate in pulling down his country, he called on the federal government to take another look at its proposed palliative measures.
He said: “Unless the government is looking for a way of enriching its friends, there is no way the proposed N8,000 monthly handout to the poor will have any impact on them.”
He advised that the proposed N500 billion palliative package should be deployed to purchase high capacity vehicles for the local government councils in the country.
On what his constituents should expect from him, he said they should be prepared for a purposeful representation, adding that he would never support any policy that would keep them pauperized for the next four years.
He also disclosed that he would work with the federal government to wake up the Doma Dam that had been lying dormant since the 1980s for the benefit of agriculture.
He said if the Dam had gotten the needed attention in the past, other African countries should be looking the way of Nigeria today since the outbreak of Russia- Ukraine war.