Daily Trust

Re­source con­trol: Omo-Agege faults Zam­fara own­er­ship of gold de­posits

- By Ab­dul­la­teef Salau (Abuja) & From Shehu Umar (Gusau)

Deputy Se­nate Pres­i­dent Ovie Omo-Agege has faulted the claim that gold de­posits in Zam­fara be­long to state and not the Fed­eral Govern­ment.

Speak­ing yes­ter­day dur­ing de­bate on the 2021 Ap­pro­pri­a­tion Bill, Omo-Agege ar­gued that min­eral re­sources mined any­where in the coun­try and the pro­ceeds from the sale be­long to the Fed­eral Govern­ment.

The Nige­ria Min­er­als and Min­ing Act 2007 vests the own­er­ship of all min­er­als, in­clud­ing gold, in the Fed­eral Govern­ment and pro­hibits unau­tho­rised ex­plo­ration or ex­ploita­tion of min­er­als.

The Deputy Se­nate pres­i­dent urged the Na­tional Assem­bly to look into the is­sue of gold min­ing in Zam­fara, say­ing this has be­come im­per­a­tive es­pe­cially at a time the govern­ment is ex­plor­ing other sources of rev­enue to fund bud­get deficit.

Omo-Agege said: “Mr.

Pres­i­dent, not too long ago, we saw the Gover­nor of Zam­fara State come be­fore the CBN to present a gold bar worth close to about N5­bil­lion. The gold bar was pre­sented for sale to the CBN.

“Mr. Pres­i­dent, our peo­ple are be­gin­ning to won­der who owns this gold that is be­ing sold to the CBN.

“They don’t sell oil in any of the Niger Delta states. I am won­der­ing why a Gover­nor of a state should be sell­ing gold bar from Zam­fara to the CBN. There are two prob­lems with that.

“We be­lieve that what­ever rev­enue that ought to come from that trans­ac­tion be­long to the en­tire coun­try and not be­long­ing to the state govern­ment. That is num­ber one and we should ac­tu­ally look into that.

“That is an area we re­ally need to de­velop. There is a lot of rev­enue that could come from there that will take the bur­den from this in­ter­na­tional bor­row­ings.”

Re­act­ing, the Special Ad­viser to Gover­nor Matawalle on Pub­lic En­light­en­ment, Me­dia and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Zailani Bappa, said: “Zam­fara state govern­ment is not claim­ing that the gold de­posit is its own be­cause it is on the ex­clu­sive list. The fed­eral govern­ment is in the process of reg­is­ter­ing min­ers to mine the gold on its be­half. The state govern­ment is buy­ing the gold from those min­ers like every other buyer and the govern­ment’s part­ner­ship with the CBN is about an­chor bor­row­ers scheme.

“The part­ner­ship with the CBN is that there is is­sue of de­vel­op­ing agri­cul­ture and min­ing in the state and the CBN is putting in money to de­velop min­ing sec­tor in the state. The bank would be re­coup­ing what they in­vested for the de­vel­op­ment of min­ing in the state by col­lect­ing gold from the state govern­ment. Peo­ple should un­der­stand that the state govern­ment and the CBN are not in any gold trad­ing. In fact, the bank is not buy­ing the gold and we’re not sell­ing to it.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria