In a resolute move to combat illegal mining and boost the jewellery-making industry, the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, is teaming up with security agencies to eliminate the rampant issue of illegal mining.
This commitment was reiterated by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Dele Alake during the graduation ceremony of the third batch of jewellery-making trainees. The event, a joint effort between the Ministry and the World Bank-assisted Mindiver Project, also marked the distribution of starter packs to the graduating artisans.
Alake highlighted that the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is firmly dedicated to eradicating illegal mining, which has not only drained the nation’s revenue but has also impacted its economy negatively. He underlined the administration’s political resolve to tackle this problem head-on and signalled strong measures to be taken, including robust cooperation with security agencies. The minister emphasised that the days of business as usual for those involved in economic crimes are over.
Addressing the jewellery-making training initiative, a part of the ministry’s ongoing minerals sector support for economic diversification project, the minister stressed that Nigeria has the potential to thrive in the global jewellery-making market. He proclaimed, “The solid minerals sector is now the focal point of generating revenue for the country; it is now the next petroleum of Nigeria”.
Considering Nigeria’s vast population, Alake expressed the necessity of establishing a local jewellery industry to fulfil domestic demand, reduce imports, generate employment opportunities, and enhance the export value of Nigerian gemstones and jewellery. The Minister stated, “It is imperative to create a local jewellery industry that would substantially meet local demand for jewellery products, increase import substitution, create jobs and boost the export value of Nigeria’s gemstones and jewellery”.
He applauded the 30 graduates of the Master Training Programme, asserting that a fully harnessed jewellery industry could significantly contribute to national economic growth through the creation of extensive employment opportunities.
The permanent secretary, Dr. Mary Ogbe, represented by the director of the human resource management department, Mohammed Mini, commended the minister for his invaluable support, which enabled the empowerment project to be accomplished within a short period of time.
The project coordinator of Mindiver, in his remarks, highlighted the ministry’s emphasis on value addition in the mining sector and outlined that jewellery making is aligned with the downstream value addition policy implementation strategy. This policy prioritises value addition and underscores the ministry’s commitment to boosting the local jewellery-making industry as part of its broader economic diversification goals.