The Federal Government has warned traditional rulers nationwide to steer clear of mining sites, saying those locations belong to the landowners.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, disclosed this on Thursday during the inauguration of the International Gemstone market under the economic sustainability plan of the government in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The PUNCH reports that the minister was responding to the goodwill message of Okere of Saki, Oba Khalid Olabisi, on the activities of miners in his domain and the need for the encouragement of local miners.
Adegbite said the Mineral and Mining Act 2007 was in favour of the rightful owner of the proposed site for mining activities, not the traditional rulers.
according to him, the act stated that the consent of the rightful owners, families or individuals not the traditional rulers must be sought before acquisition or carrying out activities on mining sites at any location in the country.
The minister said, “Mining is governed by rules and laws. What is happening at Okeho, Oyo State, as being referred to by the traditional ruler is nothing but an act of illegality.”
On the newly commissioned market, the minister said, “The Gemstone market will create and generate sustainable competitive advantages in the following key areas: development of downstream gemstone and gold mining industries, increasing the level of competitive inputs, increasing the level of employment in all business activities related to the gemstone mining cluster, increasing the rate and exports of value-added products and services and attracting foreign investments among others.”
In his address, the state Governor, Seyi Makinde, whose message was delivered by the Commissioner for Energy, Temiloluwa Seun, commended the efforts of the federal government for shifting the economic focus from oil to gas sectors.
Makinde added that his government was embracing the economic diversification policy as means of boosting the Internally Generated Revenue and creating jobs for the people in the state