Nasarawa: Sule and the challenge of harnessing solid mineral resources, By Ismail Abdulaziz

Nasarawa State prides itself as the Home of Solid Minerals, as the three major geological components- basement complex, younger granites and sedimentary rocks are all available in the state.

The Federal Government also recognised Nasarawa State as the home of solid minerals by citing the Solid Minerals Machinery and Equipment Development Institute (SOMMEDI) in Nasarawa State.

Solid minerals available in the state are: Cassiterite, Gemstone, (Amethyst, Beryl, Emerald, Garnet, Sapphire, Topaz), Tin, Clay, Barytes, Galena,  Silica Sand, Granite,  Galena, Crude Salt, Glass, Coal, Limestone, Pyrite, Iron Ore, Marble, Monazite, Zircon, among others.

Former Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, at the launch of SOMMEDI, said government would deploy technology to diversify the economy.

According to him, such effort will promote the country from being a consumer nation to a producer nation.

“President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to making sure that our economy is diversified. The reason for this is that we cannot continue to import into our country, the things that we can indeed produce by ourselves.

“This is why this institute is very important because it will also help us to design, produce, and manufacture machinery and equipment for processing of solid minerals and by so doing, jobs will be created for our people,” Onu said.

Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, conversant with development challenges of the state and abundance of solid minerals, in his inaugural speech, promised to harness the potential.

The governor listed industrialisation as a cardinal focus , adding that solid mineral deposits would be harnessed for the benefit of the state.

He said that his administration would establish a Mineral Development Agency to harness the hydro-carbon resources, coal deposit, salt, precious stones and other such mineral assets in the state.

“We will also encourage artisan miners to form cooperatives and register them with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in order to curb the menace of illegal mining,” Sule assured.

He said that the administration would create an enabling environment for both local and foreign investment.

“To attract investors, government shall ensure peace and tranquility in the state and guarantee an enabling environment, including appropriate legal framework.

“We shall support investors by providing roads, electricity supply, water and make land acquisition and leasing less-cumbersome.

“In view of our proximity to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), government will create industrial zones for small, medium and large-scale industries, particularly in Karu and Toto Local Government Areas,” Sule added.

During a recent visit by Prof. Mohammed Haruna, the Executive Vice Chairman of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Sule promised the state’s support for NASENI’s SOMMEDI.

The governor stressed that Nasarawa State Government would support any programme that would boost development of the mining sector.

He reiterated that priority would be given to the development of solid minerals potential of the state.

“This administration would continue with the existing collaboration between the government and NASENI to develop SOMMEDI located in Nasarawa State.

“Nasarawa State is endowed with solid minerals and other natural resources.

“This status presents a great opportunity for the government to improve effectively on the socio-economic lives of the people and thereby further lifting many citizens of the state out of poverty,’’ Sule said.

He added that the state government would complete the landscaping project and provide road networks for the 20-hectare permanent site of the institute, in order to fast track development of the various mining process facilities as contained in SOMMEDI plan.

“The new administration will also collaborate with NASENI to deploy the agency’s solar power capacity for the supply of electricity to general hospitals and street lights in rural areas, towns and cities within the state, ’’ the governor assured.

Some of the indigenes of Nasarawa State, who spoke on their expectations from Sule, stressed the need for him to harness the solid minerals potential of the state.

Mr Salihu Yakubu, on his expectations from the governor said: “I want to join the good people of Nasarawa State to congratulate Mr A.A. Sule, for his victory as the third executive governor of our state.

“I pray Almighty God to grant him wisdom and ability to initiate meaningful projects that would impact the lives of citizens in the state.’’

Yakubu also urged him to ensure unity among the diverse ethnic and religious groups in the state.

According to Yakubu, the state is endowed with natural and human resources that can be harnessed for development.

He said that Nasarawa State is home of solid minerals, adding that the governor should utilise the resources generated to create additional wealth for the benefits of all in the state.

Analysts say Nasarawa State does not need to wait for federal monthly statutorily allocations to execute critical projects.

They say that a state endowed with almost all the vital and essential solid minerals, ought to be one of the most buoyant states, if  it harnesses the potential.

They say that Sule may change the fortunes of Nasarawa State if he gives priority to harnessing the solid mineral resources of the state. (NANFeatures)

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