By SUNDAY ABBA, Abuja
The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has commissioned the first ever gemstone market in Nigeria. The international gemstone market built courtesy of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, MMSD, under the Economic Sustainability Plan of the federal government is located at Ojoo in Akinyele local government area of Oyo State.
A statement made available SUMMIT Post quoted the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, as saying that the project was in line with President Buhari’s resolve to anchor the economic diversification agenda of his government on the two key sectors of mining and agriculture.
According to him, the ministry designed six strategic artisanal and small scale mining cluster projects one each in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He said the choice of Ibadan as one of the locations for the International gemstone market was based on the rich deposits of gemstone in the southwest zone.
He revealed that the ministry had already trained over 50 people who would add value to the mineral upon extraction as against the hitherto practice of exporting the ore in its crude form.
“The gemstones will not just sold out in the raw form, but with valued added by turning it to jewelleries locally,” he said.
Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde who was represented by the commissioner for energy and mineral resources, Mr Seun Ashamu, lauded the federal government for the initiative.
“We encourage business to be run openly and transparently with the protection of governments at various levels in the interest of Nigeria,” he said.
The governor called on residents of the state and stakeholders in the gemstone market to follow laid down rules.
The Acting president of Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) Musa Mohamed, who spoke through the secretary, Dele Ayoleke, commended federal government’s efforts in the mining sector, appealing for facilitation of equipment leasing for members at various operation clusters.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, had earlier explained that the project was part of government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to boost the value chain of the minerals sector and to cushion the effect of the pandemic on artisanal and small-scale miners in the country.