By Usman Ibn A. Lapai
The Nigeria Society of Mining Engineers (NSME) has tasked the federal government to provide necessary equipment and resources required to ensure the country produces the needed manpower that would help diversify the country through the solid minerals sector.
President of NSME, Dr. Ebenezer Damisa, made the call while briefing the press at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna state at the weekend.
“The issue of trained manpower with adequate technical skills is another major constraint militating against optimum management of the mining sector. Apart from the fact that there is a dearth of universities that offer mining engineering programme in Nigeria, the recent graduates of one or two universities that offer mining engineering programmes and polytechnic system, do not possess the adequate practical training needed to manage minerals and metals production activities.
“Therefore, we urge the federal government to provide the necessary equipment and resources needed for the training of skilled manpower to the newly established mining engineering programme at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and other existing institutions where mining is offered to obviate the need for dependence on foreign skilled manpower engineering programmes,” he said.
“Today major mining companies globally do not see Nigeria as a mining jurisdiction despite having one of the best mining codes. We would want to reiterate, as we have been doing for some time, that Nigeria needs investment, both local and foreign in the mining sector, especially the big operators,” he said.
Dr. Damisa lamented that what is obtainable in Nigeria’s minefields are artisanal miners which contribute very minimally to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) despite the variety of mineral assets that Nigeria is blessed with.
NSME suggested the appointment of a special adviser to the President on mines and metals, a professional that would work with the minister for effective implementation of the administration’s policy on minerals and metals development.