President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has warned that his administration will no longer tolerate criminal adventurers and their local collaborators who exploit the nation’s socio-economic environment to sabotage the nation, in the guise of bringing business.
The President disclosed this during the 2023 African Natural Resource and Energy Investment summit held in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, the challenges in the sector including indiscriminate and illegal mining activities, the threat of bandits oppressing villagers and exploiting the mines to raise money for insurgency and the lack of comprehensive and certified data to guide investment financing, were enough to overwhelm investors.
He said, “dear investors, we are determined to create conducive conditions for genuine businessmen. We welcome you and shall do everything possible to assist law-abiding businesses to operate in our country. However, we shall no longer tolerate criminal adventurers and their local collaborators who exploit our socio-economic environment to sabotage our nation, in the guise of bringing business. those caught will face the full wrath of our laws.
“Let me assure you that these difficulties to ease of doing business in this sector are being tackled by our administration. A new sheriff is in town and the status quo shall no longer be the same.
Why Alake was appointed minister of mining
“Let me declare that those responsible for the state of affairs are advised to change or they will be changed. The penalties for these acts of economic sabotage are in the laws and we shall apply them to the last letter. These are a few of the reasons we have appointed Oladele Alake, seasoned investigative journalist, political media strategist and a man of unblemished integrity to sanitise the sector and drive its transformation.”
Representing the president, George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation explained that the federal executive council had recently adopted the seven-point agenda presented to clean up and position the sector for healthy business practices and navigate the international mining industry.
He listed the policies for charting the new direction in the sector to include: the establishment of a national solid minerals company, investment in big data, the formalisation of artisanal miners into co-operatives, the improvement in security architecture, effective co-ordination of inter-ministerial and inter-governmental relations to resolve operational challenges and greater transparency in the licencing process.
“These are the deliverables the ministry has been mandated to achieve and we shall do everything to support the ministry to realise our objectives,” he said.
Speaking further, he appealed to the state governors to continue the spirit of cooperative federalism by observing the exclusive jurisdiction in which mineral development falls. Adding the government, especially in subnationals must do everything possible to lower the risks of investment by overcoming the temptation to interfere in the legitimate business operations of duly licenced miners in the states.
In his remarks, Dele Alake, the minister of solid minerals development said that the theme of the summit: ‘Towards a Just Transition’, encapsulates the global imperative of transitioning towards sustainable and equitable practices in harnessing the nation’s natural resources and developing its energy systems.
This according to him is aimed to ensure that the benefits of the nation’s resource wealth are distributed fairly among citizens while ensuring the best use of natural resources.
“Our resources must become the engine of our prosperity and the well-being of our people. We must set the foundation for a just transition that fosters inclusive growth and minimizes the environmental impact.
“In Nigeria, we have witnessed the transformative potential of our solid minerals sector and the vast opportunities that lie within it. We are committed to harnessing these resources effectively, efficiently and sustainably to drive economic growth and create prosperity for our citizens.
“Our efforts in this direction have already yielded positive results, with increased exploration, investment, and responsible mining practices taking centre stage,” he said.
Noting the global movement towards cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, the minister said that Nigeria, with its vast energy potential, is poised to play a pivotal role in this journey.
“We must work collaboratively to diversify our energy sources, promote renewable energy, and implement energy efficiency measures. At the heart of this summit, we find the idea of a “Just Transition.”
“This concept calls for us to ensure that as we shift towards more sustainable practices in natural resource development and energy production, no one is left behind. The just transition is about recognizing the needs of our workforce, communities, and economies that have long depended on traditional energy sources to establish and consolidate the forces of fostering inclusivity, providing alternatives, and equitably distributing the benefits of this transformation.
“The just transition demands that we address the social and economic challenges that may arise from shifting away from traditional energy sources. We must invest in workforce re-training, creating alternative employment opportunities, and supporting impacted communities. Africa must adopt policies that provide a safety net for those who might be negatively affected by this transition,” he said.
In his remarks, Shuaibu Audu, minister of steel development noted that the pursuit of value addition in the sector has become paramount, particularly in the realm of transition metals.
For him, the demand for these metals, crucial in the development of green technologies, has surged globally, adding that Africa’s potential to meet this demand is vast, yet largely untapped.
“The key lies not only in extracting these metals but in harnessing our capabilities to refine and produce them locally. Doing so is an opportunity to foster economic growth, create jobs, and also maintain control over our resource value chain.
“By investing in domestic refining and production capabilities, we are not only adding value but also paving the way for sustainable development, ensuring that the wealth generated from these resources remains significantly within our communities, empowering our people whilst fostering technological innovation.
“This strategic shift is not without its challenges. It necessitates collaboration among National and Sub-national governments, industry stakeholders, and investors to build a robust infrastructure, promote innovation, and instigate supportive policies that encourage local value addition,” he said.