By Genevieve Aningo
Dr Oluwatoyin Akanlade, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has disclosed that the ministry in collaboration with World Bank is carrying out a Jewelry crafting training for 61 Individuals in order to resuscitate the solid mineral industry .
Dr Akanlade revealed this during the Women In Mining In Nigeria (WIMIN) maiden edition of the Lagos Gold & Gemstones Conference and Exhibition in Victoria Island Lagos. The event which attracted stakeholders in the mining and financial services sectors was themed , ‘Unveiling Nigerian Gold & Gemstones to the World’.
According to the Perm. Secretary, ‘’We have trained Nigerians with the assistance of our beloved partners and World Bank. We trained them on Jewelry crafting , so far, we have trained 41 people drawn from all the states of the federation. We still have about 20 more people to undergo this training. Our aim is that these 61 trainees would go back to their states and train other people in the sector to enable every state contribute to employment in their locations’’.
Dr Akande also reeled out that the Ministry had created mining clusters in each geopolitical zones of the country and a traning Institute in Plateau State to formalize the market and open up opportunities for women and men in the sector .
As part of the ministry’s commitment to address funding challenges, she mentioned , ‘We have provided some funds to Bank of Industry for forward lending to artisanal miners and groups. I would like to appeal to WIMIN to aggregate the house wives and the small women groups who need funds to improve their operations to access this fund”.
She also said that the Ministry was committed to adding value in the solid mineral industry and has thus approved the Nigerian Mineral Value Chain Policy and is working with national security agencies to establish the export guidelines and curtail insecurity issues at mining sites.
In her words, “The Federal Executive Council recently approved the Nigerian Mineral Value Chain Policy and what it means is that, it is now an offence to take our gemstone and any other solid minerals without verification within the country. We are also working on our export guidelines and very soon we would have a clear export policy. The Ministry has worked with Ministry of Finance, Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to try and catch those that take our minerals without paying the appropriate revenue’’.
She opined that WIMIN strategy of promoting jewellery production to attract women and investors in the mining sector resonated with her.
‘’I am particularly passionate about the development of our own domestic Jewelry crafting industry because I believe it has the potential to impact positively on our mandate as a ministry to provide much needed jobs and to create wealth for our teaming population of women’, said Dr Akinlade.
On her end, Engr. Janet Adeyemi, President and founder of WIMIN reiterated her dedication in using Jewelry production to attract women and boost the mining sector.
She said , ‘’We are redefining what Nigeria should be when people come for jewelries , we have the gold and other resources. Yesterday , I saw a Jewelry of 1.8 million naira and 600,000 naira . These were made in Nigeria and it shows we have the legs, hands and heads to move the industry. The ultimate aim of the Lagos Gold & Gemstones Conference and Exhibition 2022 is to attract the would be investors attention of banks and other financial institutions to the mining industry, specifically the gold and gemstones sector’’.
In her Goodwill message, Mrs Sholabomi Mosunmola Shasore , Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy &Mineral Resources Lagos State voiced that the state is ready to become the emerging hub for the mineral sector .
‘’We have the infrastructure, growing population, intermodal transportations, seaports, airports, fashion hub, music industry and can solve the challenges of the mining sector. We don’t have the mineral resources but we have what it takes to add to the value chain‘’, said Shasore.
Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Nigeria Extrative Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) who was represented by Ms Chinenye Okechukwu urged women to play greater women involvement in the sector.
Engr. Musa Mohammed, President Miners Association of Nigeria; Mrs Foluke Ademokon, Lagos State Coordinator, WIMIN; Taiwo Okwor, Vice President Investment Division Africa Finance Corporation, Dr. Sidikat L. Salau, Initiative for Advancement of Mining and Environmental Sciences; Prof . Abiodun Odunkoya, Head of Department , Geosciences, Univerisity of Lagos; Laura Ani, Senior Research Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies; Odein Ajumogobia , SAN, Ajumogobia &Okeke Law Firm; Jumoke Fajemirokun, Partner at ENR Advisory; and others graced the event.