The Senate on Wednesday in an adopted motion urged the Executive arm of government to initiate investigations into illegal mining of gold in Zamfara and other gold endowed states across Nigeria.
The Senate’s decision followed a motion sponsored by the Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
In his lead debate, Kalu representing Abia North Senatorial district explained that Nigeria has an average of 21.37 tonnes of gold deposit from 2000 to 2018, reaching an all time high of 21.40 tonnes in the first quarter of 2020 but lamented that the sector has been taken over by illegal miners.
According to him, all mineral deposits belong to the Federal Government which was reflected in the Constitution, wondering why the government continues to ignore exploration of gold and other mineral resources that would have grown the nation’s GDP.
“Constitutionally, all mineral resources are the property of the state, vested in the hands of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He said there is a financial haemorrhage in the country occasioned by the government’s inability to coordinate the exploration of gold, saying, “if the sector wasn’t fixed, the nation would bleed hollow.
“Mr. President, despite having this huge gold deposit, Nigeria is yet to benefit from the natural resources due to the lack of big investors and illegal mining activities in the solid minerals sector.
“Data from the Ministry of Solid Minerals and Development show that there are gold deposits in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Abia, Bauchi, Cross River, Edo, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, Oyo, Kogi,.Zamfara,.Osun and Kaduna States.”
After various contributions by lawmakers who acknowledged the importance of gold as a means of generating revenue, the prayers were sustained.
Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege upheld that the Federal Government needs to divest into mineral resources in the interest of the country.