The Federal Government has been urged to relax the required obligations and conditions for artisans and miners to access the N5bn set aside through the Bank of Industry (BOI) for the development of the mining sector.
The call is contained in the communique of the second “Mining Summit on the Challenges of Co-operative Development and Organization among Artisanal Miners in Nigeria” aimed at strengthening civic engagement and advocacy for effective natural resource governance organised by the African Centre for Leadership Strategy and Development (Centre LSD).
The project supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is being implemented in Ebonyi, Ekiti and Taraba states in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steels Development.
The forum commended the Federal Government for its commitment to the development of the mining sector as evident in the Mining Roadmap apart from the N5bn set aside through the BOI for the development of the mining sector.
It however noted that the fund is insignificant and does not show the desired seriousness needed for the anticipated growth of the industry to position it as an alternative to oil.
“Despite the N5bn fund set aside by the government, no participating artisanal miner has been unable to access the loan due to the inability of mining operators and artisanal miners to fulfill the required obligation/conditions,” the communique said.
It was jointly signed by Lamido of Gashaka, Taraba State, Alhaji Subairu Moh’d Sambo; Ohabuenyi I of Ameka, Ebonyi State, Eze Martin Nwali Oyibe; Engr. Auwal Ibrahim, Miners Association of Nigeria; Mrs. Titilayo Oni-Oladapo, Minerals Res. Development Agency, Ekiti State; Mrs. Mary Saidu Bagu, Mining Multi-Purpose Group, Taraba State and Monday Osasah, Centre LSD.
While noting that the absence of a reliable database of artisanal and small-scale miners in Nigeria is a challenge to the development of the mining sector, they said that artisanal mining is a source of employment to about 500,000 people with over 1.2 million beneficiaries. “Unfortunately, these ASMs do not do mining appropriately leading to environmental degradation with little or no remediation plan.”
They, among others, urged the Federal Government to allow partnership between state governments, communities and foreign investors to put into action the diversification and utilization of the mineral resources.