In less than 25 days to the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister of Mines and Steel has inaugurated the first Gemstone market in Nigeria.
During the inauguration of the International Gemstone Market under the Economic Sustainability Plan of the Federal Government on Thursday in Ibadan, Oyo State, Adegbite explained that the Mineral and Mining Act 2007 favours individuals and families as rightful owners of mining sites, not traditional rulers.
The Minister was 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.
Adegbite said, “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.”
He added that the Gemstone market would avail Nigeria an industry-based competitive advantage.