From Tony John, Port Harcourt

The Federal Government has approached the Rivers Government for partnership in exploiting numerous mineral resources in the state.

Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Uchechukwu Ogah, made the move when he visited Governor Nyesom Wike at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.

Ogah said: “The Federal Government is soliciting the support and partnership of Rivers government in ensuring the orderly and efficient exploitation of huge deposits of silica sand, glass sand and clay which occur in state for construction purposes and glass manufacturing.”

He said commercial explosives used in oil and gas operations are stored and used in a safe and secured manner in line with provisions of the Explosives Act and Regulations.

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“The Federal Government is implementing policies aimed at diversifying the nation’s economic away from dependence on oil to mining and agriculture, as the foundation blocks for economic growth and sustainability,” he said.

He said the Federal Government’s mining policy has focused on streamlining application processes and significantly increasing private sector investment in the industry.

Governor Wike proposed that the federating units in Nigeria should be allowed to develop and operate their respective minerals and pay royalty to the Federal Government.

He said this has become pertinent because the Federal Government, which unilaterally controls the country’s rich mineral endowment, has failed to translate the mineral wealth into overall economic development.

The governor said for the country to benefit from its vast mineral endowment, the Federal Government should concentrate on formulation of policies that would facilitate an improvement in the governance of the mining sector to improve social welfare of the citizens.