The Nigeria mining sector is a formidable one with a very bright prospect, but needs government intervention in the areas of infrastructural provision and effective mobilization of its operators so as to achieve maximum results.
One of the ways to achieve good results in this area is through bringing identified illiterate miners close to the government so as to utilize them and their expertise to secure a lot of revenue. It is said that government generates reasonable revenue from that sector through the joint effort of some of the professionals who are educated but fewer in number than their uneducated counterparts.
It s instructive to note that the head of the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences, Jos Engr Umar Saidu Bamalli has consistently spoken on how illiterate miners who are involved in mining activities throughout the country can be helped. Bamalli says by giving a little bit of training to these illiterate miners the country could benefit from what they know. This action will also reduce if not eliminate the activities of the artisanal miners.
The Chief Executive Officer suggests that government should bring all the miners into organized groups capable of accessing bank loans and assistance. This writer absolutely believes that such a measure if sustained is the panacea for the illegal mining.
No doubt the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciencea has been doing its best to improve the lot of miners both in formal and informal sectors through rigorous training like giving them lectures, workshops and providing them with some necessary assistance which will help them in their mining efforts. It must be noted that most of the miners are not educated, but they know where the mines are located and are conversant with the mining processes. Therefore, for Nigeria to benefit from the sector, especially as regards to achieving set objectives, Bamalli’s agency decided that the best thing to do is to train and re-train these group of illiterate miners spread across the country. It is believed that when they are trained and given a little bit of assistance, the mining sector will blossom and then the government as well as the miners will now start to get the revenue envisaged from the mining sector.
It was in realization of the fact that the agency found it necessary to be interacting with them both formally and informally as well as providing them with basic training on how to successfully carry out their jobs in such a way that it will be helpful not only to them individually, but to the whole country since according to him the more educated and trained the miners are the more useful they will be to all of us. I cannot agree with him more on this.
It could even be argued that not much has been achieved in this sector because of some of the problems already highlighted which the agency is tackling now.
Almost all the actions taken or about to be taken by the agency concerning the activities of the miners are all in-line with the vision and mission of the agency which among others include the development of the mining sector, mobilization of miners into effective groups and proper implementation of policies of government.
However, Bamalli argued that, there is need for individual miners and their respective associations to comply and fully obey all the by-laws and other regulations enacted by the government for operators in the mining sector. He posited that nothing or little will be achieved if the operators do not abide with such laws and regulations which were essentially put in place to guide them. His agency is responsible for enlightening and sensitizing these miners on the laws explained above and will not hesitate to continue doing so since according to him the overall success of operators in the mining sector depended mostly on how they obey the laws and co-operate with government agencies charged with the responsibility of putting in place variables that will help to develop the mining sector.
Though the federal government is on the right direction on achieving its mining objectives, it is important for the government to ensure adequate provision of basic and critical infrastructure like good roads and electricity. It is on this account that Bamali stated that he was in full support of what the government has being doing on the actualization of its mining policy. He however emphasized that providing a conducive atmosphere will encourage investors to patronize the activities of miners in Nigeria.
Mbaya writes from Abuja


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