Nigeria and the quest for solid mineral diversification

To say that Nigerian oil revenues are no longer self-sufficient is to sing an old song, as is the need for greater diversification of the economy.

While agriculture remains a key sector in this regard and continues to contribute enormously to the gross domestic product of the country, the solid minerals sector continues to be a sector where experts agree that it has not been exploited and used in an optimal way in terms of exploitation and development.

The solid minerals sector has, however, seen an increased interest in investment from both local and foreign investors, as available statistics show that Nigeria currently has over 44 known types of minerals of varying mixtures and different quantities, all distributed in all the countries.

Despite these enormous potentials, mining in Nigeria over the years has been on a very, very small scale, carried out by relatively small contractors, unlicensed and unskilled people, who have lent little or no attention to environmental degradation, abuse and pollution.

Even then, the hardest problem for the solid minerals sector has been the dominance of the oil sector, for by dictating the pace the sector has held others spellbound – unfortunately controlling the pace and direction in which ‘other minerals were developed or mined after playing the main role. golden egg hen over the years.

To realize this potential of the solid minerals sector, however, the federal government, in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017 to 2020, has clearly outlined the solid minerals sector as one of its potential growth sectors, as its contribution, albeit small, has boosted the country’s GDP from N52 billion in 2010 to N103 billion in 2015. Of these figures, while coal mining has cut a 7% stake, quarries and other mines accounted for 89%.

In this quest to harness this potential, the federal government has developed a roadmap for the industry, an approach that many stakeholders have not only described as perfect, but also relevant.

The Director General of the Mining Cadastre Office, Engineer Simon Obadiah Nkom, FNISE, whose responsibility it is to take the Nigerian mining sector to the next level, is ready to achieve and implement this lofty goal.

Flaming, Eng. Nkom, taking the bull by the horn, has astonishingly generated N9.384 billion over a three-year period as while Nkom 2.580 billion was generated on behalf of the federation in 2019, it topped 2019 revenue in 2020 despite the pandemic, returning N2. 303 billion in the coffers of the nation.

Relentlessly, from January to May 2021, a total of 2.016 billion naira was again harvested while on December 31, 2021, the revenue generated increased to 4.3 billion naira, which was the highest revenue ever generated in the financial history of the cadastre. Office.

“There is an increase in the submission of applications for mining titles, an increase in revenue generation – 4.301 billion naira, organizational growth – the establishment and operationalization of MCO offices in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

“We are currently collaborating more closely with other departments and agencies of the Ministry (MID, MEC, ASM, NGSA among others), in particular the Department of Mines Inspection. – eMC+ enabling and integrating electronic recording and archiving of mining title documents,” said Engr Nkom.

Lending his voice to the call for diversification, Nkom, urged the federal government to rethink and focus on hard minerals as its central objective in diversifying the economy with the aim of increasing revenues, especially since the price of oil fluctuates regularly.

“With approximately 44 minerals, there is a need to invest in collecting accurate data in order to attract the right investors into the solid minerals sector. MCO’s concern is to be able to imbibe transparency, security of tenure and non-subjectivity, all to attract the necessary investments in the sector,” Nkom reiterated.

From the 1980s, when he cut his teeth as a brilliant mining engineer in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, Nkom distinguished himself as one of the best young officers in the Ministry of Mines. and Steel.

Nkom’s cutting-edge ideas since he took over as head of the land registry office have been outstanding par excellence, culminating in his agency being awarded the Distinctive Innovative IT Development Parastatal in Nigeria, beating other senior counterparts in the field of technology such as PenCom, FIRS, FRSC, NCC, CAC, etc., as it stood out as the best in the 2022 NIRA (Nigeria Internet Registration Association of Nigeria) awards in Lagos, labeled “Digital Innovation of the FGN, 2022”.

This recognition appears to be the driving force behind Nkom’s development initiative for the solid minerals sector, having been galvanized into a fast-paced IT agency that essentially connects with the world in all spheres of solid mineral mining. , from information acquisition, recording, to detailed geology and analysis. surveys.

Pursuing a youthful zeal for technology and gemstones, Nkom fulfilled his dream of studying mining, establishing himself in the mining industry of Nigeria and the world at large.

Holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Mining Engineering from Federal University of Technology Akure, MBA and PGD in Management from University of Maiduguri, HND in Mining Engineering from Kaduna Polytechnic, among the possession of certifications in Geo-database, Geographic Information Systems, both from Houston (USA), Spatial Data Processing (Netherlands), Public Administration ( Maiduguri) of Mining and Metallurgy, MINETEC (Japan) and others, Nkom clearly appears to be the square peg in the square hole needed to deliver FG’s Solid Minerals Development Roadmap initiative.

For Nkom, who is currently the 30th President of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) and also a member of many professional bodies, all eyes are on him as expectations and optimism to succeed and break even more records n have never been so high among Nigerians.

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