By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Mining and Steel Development Ministry on Thursday debunked claims about the alleged sale of gold by Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Head of Press and Public Relations of the Ministry of Development of Mines and Steel, Etore Thomas, and was made available to, with the subject, “Zamfara Gold: Correction of the facts”.
According to the statement, people are apparently portraying that some states of the country have the right to add mineral resources within their domain for their use, which is not true since all mineral resources remain on the Exclusive Legislative list enshrined in the Constitution of 1999 (as modified).
The statement also noted that for the benefit of the doubt, Section 44 (3) establishes “complete ownership and control of all minerals, mineral oils and natural gas in, under or over any land in Nigeria or in, under or over the waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone of Nigeria, they will belong to the Government of the Federation and will be administered in the manner determined by the National Assembly. ” Also, the Minerals Law of 2007 is very clear regarding the ownership and exploitation of minerals.
According to the statement, it is in line with this that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has the responsibility of identifying the nation’s solid minerals, advising the government in the formulation and execution of laws and regulations that guide the different stages of prospecting. exploitation of quarries, and mining, and management of sale and consumption of solid minerals in the country, through the issuance of permits, licenses, leases and collection of rents, rights and royalties.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has been drawn to media reports on the reactions of individuals and groups to the alleged news report about the governor of the state of Zamfara buying gold from artisanal miners in the state and selling it to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Normally, the Ministry would have been silent had it not been for the negative impression that these views are conveying; apparently, states in some parts of the country have the right to add mineral resources within their domain for use.
“On the gold of the state of Zamfara; The state of Zamfara has security challenges and the state government found out that bandits were exploiting the ignorance of artisanal miners, they buy their gold at a very low price, take the gold across the border and sell it at the price of market and exchange it for ammunition and weapons, which was fueling banditry.
“The Zamfara state government, through a registered company, with a shopping center license, is now buying gold from artisanal miners at market price. This has undoubtedly deterred artisanal miners in the state from selling to bandits.
“Although states through their authorized corporate entities can buy and sell gold to any interested person or company, it is noteworthy that CBN did not buy or will buy gold from the Zamfara government.
“The gold that the government of the state of Zamfara exhibits is called golden bars (semi-finished gold). CBN buys gold that is processed to a purity of 99.99%, which is the LBMA standard, marketable around the world.
“The Federal Government encourages state governments to be part of the mineral exploitation in the country by incorporating a limited liability company with which to go to the Ministry to obtain a license for Mining or Purchase Centers.
“Said corporate entity / company must go through normal processes for the approval and issuance of the license. This license allows said company to exploit minerals in any place called Cadastre Unit ”.
The statement also explained that “As part of the strategies to implement policies / programs in the Mining Sector to expand income generation and employment opportunities in line with the economic diversification agenda of this administration, the Presidential Initiative of Artisanal Gold Mining Development (PAGMI). . The components of the initiative included but were not limited to the Formalization of artisanal miners in cooperatives. This is to integrate their activities into the economic and institutional framework that would eliminate illegality; Register of Purchasing Centers and Aggregators, to provide market access to artisanal miners, etc.
“As in the oil and gas sector, revenues generated by mineral resources are entered into the federation account and shared among states during the monthly meeting of the Federation Allocation Accounts Committee (FAAC). The derivation of 13% is paid on the exploitation of mineral resources of the mineral producing states as is done in the oil and gas sector ”.