Nigeria offers states more control over minerals to avoid repeat of Niger Delta crisis


State governments with solid mineral deposits in their domains can now acquire mining licenses and develop the resources under the new road map for the sector, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, has said.

Mr. Fayemi, who said this in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES, said the road map also confers special role for the communities hosting the mineral deposits in the country.

“If any state has gold, and the government thinks it will be best harnessed by managing it in partnership with a private technical partner, there is nothing in the law prohibiting the state from establishing its special purpose vehicle for mining operations and approaching the mining cadastral office of the ministry for a license, as long as the land is free and unencumbered,” the minister said.

Apart from assisting interested state governments with available data countrywide, Mr. Fayemi said the Ministry would also be willing to introduce private sector operators to prospective exploration opportunities in the sector, to avoid their running into problems.

Under the road map, the minister said those seeking exploration licenses, or mining leases would not get it without the consent of states and host communities.

To avoid the experience in the oil and gas sector believed to be the root of the conflict in the Niger Delta region, the minister said consent to prospective mining companies from host communities would now require ratification by the states.

Under the new arrangement, the minister said states now have greater powers and legitimacy on issuance of license, since they issue certificates of occupancy for land and know the land owners in their domains.

“That gives the states a greater leverage, participation and knowledge about the exploitation of the resources in their area. That would go a long way in reducing the tension seen in communities over rights to mineral resources,” he said.

“You cannot formalize operatorship in the sector without inputs from the states. What we have agreed in principle with states is they are the ones to carry out first level of enumeration. The federal government is prepared to support the state to undertake that exercise.”

For mining to work in the country, the minister said the relationship between federal government issuing the licenses, the states in charge of where the resources were located, and investors, must be strengthened and aligned seamlessly.

To ensure the smooth relationship between state and federal governments, he said a National Council on Mining, equivalent to those on Environment and Health, was constituted.

State and federal governments as well as related agencies, civil society groups, non-governmental and academic institutions are members of the Council mandated to look at issues affecting the mining sector.

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  • Ted Ebute

    Why won’t states with crude oil deposits enjoy the same?

    • smart

      You spoke my mind

    • Lanre

      Thank you. That is how slaves behave when in office. Kayode Fayemi is playing clever by half.

      • Charles

        Fayemi did not act in isolation, he was directed to do what he did, remember the geographical location of the area in question.

    • Peter_Edo

      he is not the minister of petroleum resources

    • Charles

      They are lesser Nigerians.

  • smart

    @Ted Ebute you spoke my mind. Why can’t we enjoy same with oil?

    • princegab

      Yes, oil too will enjoy same but not soon because contracts and agreement on oil exploration would have expired before changes could be made. It is good that fg is taking care of these contradictions before commencing solid minerals explorations.

  • Rominiyis

    Ahead of the curve.

  • Ade#

    Dancing around the issue.
    Fayemi please say it the way it is, lets states control their resources and pay tax to the federal government. That’s is true federalism… Coming up with half-bake solutions won’t get us anywhere.

    • ochulele


    • Dipo

      But he can’t do that, the national Assembly must change the Constitution to support it first

      • Ade#

        That why the should show sincerity and forward the appropriate restructuring bill to the national assembly.

        • Sir Demo

          A minister forwarding a bill to change the constitution to the NASS?

          • Ade#

            “They” plural.
            The government should..

  • Rommel

    That is the way to go incidentally,same will not happen for crude oil because there are lots of JV agreements and investments between FG and multinationals already on the ground but we can start with new oil wells to be drilled in fresh oil blocs