Nigeria sitting on goldmine, yet poor – Omotayo

The director general of National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Prof Ayo Omotayo says Nigeria has been sitting on huge wealth over the years , unfortunately has not been tapped for the betterment of the citizens. 

He however noted that hope is on the way as the Renewed Hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is targeting the utilisation of all resources to give hope to Nigerians.

He was speaking in Abuja on Thursday at a press conference to herald the upcoming round-table summit on sustainable development of the mining industry to be held on April 29 and 30th in Abuja. 

The summit is in conjunction with Bruit Costaud, a private consulting firm whose managing partner, Alhaji Lai Mohammed was equally at the press conference.

According to the NIPSS boss, “We found ourselves in a situation of sitting on enormous resources but still have high-level of poverty. Nigeria is blessed with great human and material resources which should ordinarily be used for the betterment of our people. It is however incomprehensible that a nation that is envied by others due to her natural endowment is being vilified among comity of nations. Thank God that this perception is changing gradually. 

“As part of the efforts to reposition Nigeria economically, as the base of the society, the current administration is poised to harness all the resources (human and material) available for the good of the society. One of these efforts is the restructuring of the administrative frameworks of the federal government.” 

He said mining, which is the extraction of mineral resources that Nigeria is endowed with for the benefits of the citizens, has been a low-hanging fruit because of the inability of past administrations to take decisive actions leading to outsiders coming to extract some of them while, he said, illegal and unscrupulous elements capitalise on the lapses to milk the nation dry. 

“It is on this basis that the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, as the apex think-tank for government and the country, in collaboration with an indigenous advisory and strategic communication organisation, Bruit Costaud, decided to contribute their quota towards the realisation of the mining objectives of Nigeria by organising a round-table summit to address the myriad of challenges affecting the sector and to proffer useable solutions from there. The main objective of this round-table is to provide a platform for all stakeholders in the mining industry, not only to meet and discuss, but to deliberate and reflect on the best strategies to achieve a sustainable development of the sector.  The end goal is for the sector to reach its potentials and to contribute meaningfully to the desire to improve the lives of the Nigerian citizens,” he said.

The summit, he said, would look at strategies to secure the mining sites and activities in the country, ensure the attraction of large-scale investments into the sector in order to move it away from being largely artisanal by getting foreign direct investment for the sector; as well as ensuring the buying-in of citizens and communities where mining activities take place.

On his part, Alhaji Mohammed noted that there are lapses in the mining industry which ought to be a concern for everyone, the reason for which the summit is so important.