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Ogun Govt Reserves Right To Protect Mineral Resources Within Its Domain – Abiodun’s Aide

Ogun Govt Reserves Right To Protect Mineral Resources Within Its Domain – Abiodun’s Aid

MICHAEL-AZEEZ OGUNSIJI

ABEOKUTA – The Ogun State Government said Governor Dapo Abiodun’s Executive Order creating the Mineral Resources Agency is aimed at protecting those resources in its domain and entrench decency and sanity in the sector, for the common good of the people in the State.

It said the Agency was set up for mineral identification, geological mapping of the state, and data banking, in line with item 39 of the exclusive legislative list regulating mining activities in Nigeria.

Special Adviser to Governor Abiodun on Media and Strategy, Hon. Kayode Akinmade, given further clarification on the restraining order of government on Mining mineral resources in the State, on Sunday, noted that while only the Federal Government can regulate mining activities across Nigeria, the mineral deposits are in States, and the mining activities occur in those States.

“Thus, a State can not effectively plan or govern if it does not enumerate the resources in its jurisdiction and map them to know where they are. For example, it will be a colossal loss to build a mass housing project on a site that has the largest deposit of limestone or natural gas. The way the State Government can avoid this is to know what minerals are in the State, where they are, and in what quantity.

“This knowledge helps the State attract investors. It also helps the State to effectively manage land so that sites that are by natural endowment suited for mineral exploration are not classified as residential or allotted for commercial purposes that waste the mining potential of the land.

“It also avoids clash of investments as we have had agricultural allottees clashing with mining allottees on the same or adjoining land with the mining activities hampering the agricultural and ecological benefits of the farmers,” he said.

According to Akinmade, the newly created Mineral Resources Agency will interface with other MDAs to avoid clashes in future land allocation and ensuring that prospective mining sites are preserved and uninhibited for investors who, if interested, would eventually approach the Federal Government for mining licenses and operations.

He added: “In reaching this decision, Ogun State was guided by the precedent of oil-producing states who, despite petroleum being on the Exclusive Legislative List, have set up ministries of oil and gas. These ministries do not regulate petroleum or conflict with the DPR’s regulatory mandate over the petroleum industry.

“Rather, they focus on host community development, conflict avoidance and resolution, maximising petroleum participation in the State (attracting investors) and warehousing statistics. This is the same model that the Ogun State Agency will adopt.

“Additionally, we must remember the recent unfortunate explosion in Ibadan, Oyo State that destroyed several properties and claimed lives, because of the actions of miners operating in the State under federal license without interface with or recourse to the State Government at all.

“A State Government that bears the responsibility to secure lives and properties must also have a means to know what the threats to that security are, the identity and nature of the actors exacerbating those threats, and the level of the public’s exposure to those threats.”

The special adviser noted that while mining is exclusively federal, security of lives and property is concurrent and State Governments must know the businesses and investors who have obtained federal licenses to import and store dynamites, noxious chemicals, and other harmful materials that are incidental to mining.

He also stated that Ogun State Government has the constitutional right to regulate chieftaincy matters in the State.

According to him, if persons who are subjected to chieftaincy laws are breaching the peace or undermining public good, the State Government can call such persons to order.

“In doing so, Ogun State is not regulating the activity but the persons. As an example, the Central Bank does not regulate cryptocurrencies (which are digital assets under the SEC’s purview). However, the CBN regulates banks and can order banks to not support crypto transactions, as it did in the past.

“Mining remains the Federal Government’s exclusive mandate, but by the new order, Ogun State Government has barred state chiefs subject to state law, from participating in that space. This is in order,” he added.

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