Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Disparity in laws controlling oil, solid minerals industries worrisome

A fresh angle to the trending nationwide clamour for restructuring is emerging. This time, Nigerians that barred their minds with our correspondents on the laws controlling the exploration of natural resources say time has come to invoke the kinds of strict regulations in the nation’s oil and gas industry in the solid minerals ministry.

Currently, whereas the oil and gas regulatory guidelines do not allow any Nigerian or community to explore oil, the available regulations controlling solid minerals resources allow for that.

However, analysts say whereas there is clear federal government strong interest and strict regulation in the oil industry, it appears to be weak in the mining industry.

There are several solid minerals currently mined in some parts of the country and mainly the North but they are yet to be profiled and placed under any agency of the federal government. Illegal mining has become a way of life in some part of the country at a time the government is sniffing for fund everywhere. Nigeria is blessed with top strategic solid minerals that give good money at the international market including Gold, Zinc, Uranium, Ammonium nitrate, copper, tin, columbite and so many others.

In an interview, a Solid Mineral expert who pleaded anonymity queried why there is no government regulatory agency for gold considering that gold is found and mined in not less than five states in the North.

He said “Gold is found in commercial quantity in Zamfara State, Kebbi State, Niger State, Sokoto State and some parts of Kaduna State, but there is no serious mining regulatory framework”.

In world commodity market, gold is price is far higher than oil and countries like Ghana and South Africa at a point in time, based their economies on gold earnings meaning that they have been making serious foreign earnings from gold year to year”.

Continuing, he decried that “What we hear is only when there is zinc leakage in their illegal mining camps. That is when the government will go and render emergency support and after that they will continue to milk the nation’s resources”.

Another observer who commented on Facebook recently called on the federal government to investigate the allegation that a sitting Governor in one of the Northern states (name with held), where Gold is mined ferries raw Gold worth over $45 million every month to Ghana for processing.

According to the Facebook comments, “It was even gathered that recently an Air force jet intercepted the governor’s personal jet which he used to carry the Gold out of the country”.

“According to investigation the governor accompanies the stolen gold on every trip. It was learnt that the federal government is dragging its foot because of immunity which they are contemplating the governor has.

The aggrieved Facebook reporter further decried that “The governors are hiding under this immunity to rape the nation and subject its entire citizenry to untold hardship”.

Apart from gold, there are other critical solid minerals in some parts of Nigeria which the minister, Dr. Kayode Fayemi since his appointment has not been able to carry out any appreciable reforms that will grow the sector and block all the observed loopholes by structuring the exploration like what obtains in oil industry.

Business Hilights recalls that only recently, there reports that a foreign firm that has been milking billions of dollars by illegal mining of solid minerals for many years.

However, nothing was heard about the matter after the news break till today and no further clarification was even made by the minister on whether the report was real or not and how to recover the government funds.