The Federal Government, on Thursday, told traditional rulers nationwide to steer clear of mining sites, saying they belong to the land owners.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, gave the warning in Ibadan, during the inauguration of the International Gemstone Market under the Economic Sustainability Plan of the Federal Government.
The minister was responding to the goodwill message of the Okere of Saki, Oba Khalid Olabisi, on the activities of miners in his domain and the need for the encouragement of local miners.
The minister explained that the Mineral and Mining Act 2007 was in favour of the rightful owner of the proposed site for mining activities and not traditional rulers.
Adegbite said, “Mining is governed by rules and laws. What is happening at Okeho, Oyo State, as referred to by the traditional ruler, is nothing but an act of illegality.
“The 2007 Mining Act only recognises families and individuals as rightful owners of acquired mining sites not traditional rulers. It is based on this that exploration, not mining licences, are issued to the aforementioned groups of people. Traditional rulers can only advise, not playing principal role.
“What is going on in some localities is an illegal act and government will deal decisively with anybody caught irrespective of his or her position.”
He said the newly-opened ”gemstone market will create and generate sustainable competitive advantages in the following key areas: development of downstream gemstone and gold mining industries, increasing the level of competitive inputs, increasing the level of employment in all business activities related to the gemstone mining cluster, increasing the rate and exports of value-added products and services and attracting foreign investments among others.”
In his address, Governor Seyi Makinde, whose message was delivered by the Commissioner for Energy, Temiloluwa Seun, commended the efforts of the government for shifting the economic focus from the oil and gas sector.
Makinde added that his government was embracing the economic diversification policy as means of boosting the Internally Generated Revenue and creating jobs for the people in the state.