Nigerian Minister of state for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Samson Uchechukwu Ogah has urged miners in Benue state to be united and operate under one umbrella to be able to get support from the federal government.
Dr Ogah gave this advice on Thursday when he held a town hall meeting with stakeholders in the mining sector at the Federal Secretariat Makurdi, the Benue state Capital shortly after he led officials of the ministry to Pay a courtesy call on Governor Ortom at Government House.
During an interactive session at the Secretariat, the miners complained about lack of resources, illegal acquisition of mining licenses by some people who do not go through the normal processes to obtain consent from the communities.
Responding to their complaints, the minister stressed that the Federal government had the capacity to take care of miners if they are united and show competence. He disclosed that the Bank of Industry, Central Bank of Nigeria and NEXIM Bank have already made inputs to that effect. He also urged them not to make consent alone without carrying other miners along and they should not promise the host communities what they cannot do so as to avoid problems when the pledges are not fulfilled.
Dr Uchechuku said, “people should be responsible in mining activities so that the government will be responsible for solving their problems”.
Earlier at Government House, the minister told Governor Ortom that he was in the state to intimate the Governor about federal government’s road map on its mining activities and to sensitize Benue people on the need to adopt best mining practices.
He commended the Governor for his landmark achievements despite security challenges, saying the normalcy that has returned to Benue has stimulated mining activities in the state.
Dr Ogah appealed to the state government to provide security to mining sites and propose a workable synergy between the ministry and the state government to actualize the set goals.
He told the Governor that , they would also pay courtesy calls on relevant stakeholders in areas with mining potentials with the aim of helping to develop the sector.
In his speech, Governor Samuel Ortom expressed his readiness to support any genuine Federal government policy, saying politics was over and it was time for development. He stressed that his administration would support the federal government to ensure the actualization of policies, programmes and activities of the Buhari-led government such as the mining exploration for which the Minister was in Benue. But he would not hesitate to criticise the federal government constructively
when the need arises.
Ortom said the security agencies sent to Benue state have done well, hence the mining activities going on in the rural areas.
“For us in Benue state, we remain committed and we are fully in support of any positive policy by President the Buhari-led Federal government. Politics is over and it is time for development.
” But I will always criticise constructively when things are not right.
“We will collaborate with the federal ministry Mines and Steel to develop mining activities in Benue state,” Ortom assured.