The Federal Government has, through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, inaugurated the first Gemstone market in Nigeria.
Naija News reports that the development is coming less than 25 days before President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration ends.
In his address during the inauguration of the International Gemstone Market under the Economic Sustainability Plan of the Federal Government on Thursday in Ibadan, Oyo State, the Ministry’s minister, Olamilekan Adegbite, explained that the Mineral and Mining Act 2007 favours individuals and families as rightful owners of mining sites, not traditional rulers.
Adegbite reportedly said this while reacting to a question from the Okere of Saki, Oba Khalid Olabisi, on the activities of miners in his domain and the need to encourage local miners.
“Rules and laws govern mining. What is happening at Okeho, Oyo State, as referred to by the traditional ruler, is nothing but an act of illegality.
“The 2007 Mining Act only recognises families and individuals as rightful owners of acquired mining sites, not traditional rulers.
“Based on this, exploration, not mining licences, are issued to the groups mentioned above. Traditional rulers can only advise, not play a principal role,” Daily Post quoted Adegbite saying.
He added that the Gemstone market would avail Nigeria an industry-based competitive advantage.
The Minister first hinted about the incumbent government establishing a Gemstone in January 2021, Naija News recalls.
Adegbite who spoke in Ibadan two years ago said the move was an effort to formalize the gemstone business which has become an international business.
He confirmed that he was handed two hectares of land documents donated for that purpose by the Oyo State Government. The land, according to him is located at Ojoo, along the Ibadan – Oyo road, in the Akiinyele Local Government Area of the state.
“This is an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari; part of the post-COVID-19 palliatives that is being done by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
“Its aim is to develop the activities in the sector within the six zones in the country. “For the Southwest zone, we chose to promote gemstone trading, which is already going on in Ibadan – as an informal market in the Ojoo area of the state,” Adegbite said earlier.
He added that the market would enhance gemstone trading and be beneficial to the Federal, state, and local governments.
“Also, it will spur activities for people, enhance the market, at the same time improve the local economy and also generate revenue for the government, both at the state and Federal,” he noted.