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Kalu Says Insecurity, Inadequate Infrastructure Stalling Nigeria’s Mining Sector Growth

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By Gloria Ikibah

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Benjamin Kalu has said that insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, and lack of skilled labour have continued to act as bottlenecks hampering the growth of Nigeria’s mining sector.

Kalu stated this at a Public Policy Dialogue on Nigeria’s Minerals and Mining Legislation, organized by House Committee on Solid Minerals, on Monday in Abuja.

According to him, the nation’s vast mineral resources have remained largely untapped, and undeservedly overshadowed by our too much reliance on oil.

Kalu added that despite boasting over 40 commercially viable minerals, the mining sector contributes a mere 0.3 percent to the country’s GDP, which he said is unacceptable and urged all hands to be on deck to turn the tide.

The Deputy Speaker who made reference to a Bill he co-sponsored with the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Solid Mineral, Hon. Jonathan Gbefwi titled Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) Bill as well as eight other mining bills, said the bills when passed into law will represent a turning point for the nation’s mineral wealth.

He further noted that governments hold many of the levers to deal with the great challenges, adding however, that businesses have the innovation, technology, and talents to deliver the needed solutions.

Kalu also opined that the governing philosophy in the mining sector in Nigeria should henceforth be approached with a private-sector-led lens, stressing that it is through this crucial partnership that the true potential of Nigeria’s mining sector can be unlocked.

He said: “This public policy dialogue is engineered to create the appropriate right of way for the necessary adjustments and policymaking creativity that is required to optimize the promising prospects of Nigeria’s mining sector. Today, I stand before you not only as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives but also as a co-sponsor of the HB.751: Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) Bill so ably sponsored by Hon. Jonathan Gbefwi. This legislation if passed will represent a turning point for our nation’s mineral wealth.

“There are indications of a renewed vigor in our mining industry, fueled by a collective will to diversify our economy, create jobs, and unlock the immense potential that lies beneath our soil. The 2016-2025 mining industry development roadmap, aiming to increase the sector’s GDP contribution to 3% by 2025, is already showing progress. Projects like the Segilola Gold Project in Osun state governed by a private-sector-led lens are injecting millions of dollars into our economy and attracting much-needed investment.

“They are not just amendments; they are a comprehensive reform package designed to address these challenges and propel our mining sector into the future. Here’s what these bills aim to achieve: Enhanced security: By fostering collaboration between mining companies, communities, and security agencies, we can create a safer environment for investment and development. Infrastructure development: We are committed to investing in critical infrastructure like roads, railways, and power, making mine operations more efficient and cost-effective. Skilled workforce development: We are building partnerships with educational institutions and industry leaders to equip Nigerians with the skills they need to thrive in this sector. Streamlined regulation: The new legislation will simplify bureaucratic processes, reduce red tape, and create a more transparent and predictable regulatory environment.
I urge all stakeholders– government, businesses, communities, and civil society– to join hands and work together to make this vision a reality. Let us leverage the power of partnerships, innovation, and technology to unlock the true potential of our mineral wealth. The time for action is now”.

“To demonstrate this concisely, in the 3rd quarter of 2023, the Segilola Gold mine in Osun state, Nigeria’s first industrial-scale gold mine posted $118 million in revenue for its owners, Thor Explorations Limited after reporting $71.7 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in 2022 according to its publicly available financial statements for 2022 and 2023. Initiatives like the simplification of licensing and competitive royalty regimes attract global players like Thor Explorations, showcasing the potential for an industrial-scale mining sector. However, challenges remain. Insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of skilled labor continue to act as bottlenecks. This is where the HB.751 and eight other mining-related bills currently under consideration come in.

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Oborevwori Bags Silverbird Governor Of The Year 2023

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Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori has won the Silverbird Group Governor of the Year 2023 in recognition of his sterling accomplishments in the state.

Presenting the award to Oborevwori, on Sunday night in Lagos, former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, congratulated Governor Sheriff Oborevwori for his administration’s achievements within nine months.

Receiving the award, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori thanked Silverbird Group for the honour and dedicated the award to all Deltans.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Sir Monday Onyeme, said: “We are very grateful to Senator Ben Murray Bruce and the entire management of Silverbird Group for this great honour. Little did we know that our modest achievements within the nine months we have been in office have been noticed.

“We came to serve Delta, and we are doing just that. In line with our MORE agenda, faculties have been built and commissioned, road infrastructure and bridges have been commissioned, and a lot more are ongoing. We have ensured we have qualified teachers in our primary schools.

“In less than nine months, the government has hired over 3,000 teaching and non-teaching staff to ensure that our primary schools are running. We want to assure Deltans that all nooks and crannies in the state shall be provided with quality infrastructures.

“We want to thank Deltans for all the cooperation they give us and the peace they provide. Delta is becoming an investment destination for Nigerians and foreigners alike. We will not get tired, and we will continue to do MORE because that is the mandate.

“In the next three or four years, we are going to see that education becomes better, more effective and easily accessible. We want to see a Delta State where peace will reign supreme. Industrialisation will be the order of the day. That is the vision!

“Education is the bedrock of development in any society. The people need to be educated to live a good life and embrace modernity.”

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Hunger: FG to begin nationwide distribution of grains soon

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Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Senator Abubakar Kyari disclosed this on Monday.

Recall that on Sunday many Nigerians stormed a government warehouse and emptied it of foodstuffs.

“Dear Fellow Nigerians,” he wrote on his official X handle. “In these trying times, I extend my sincere compassion to those affected by the hardships in the country. I understand the gravity of the situation, especially with the unfortunate event of foodstuff warehouse looting.

“Amidst these challenges, I want to assure you that our commitment to your well-being remains resolute. We shall commence the distribution of 42,000 metric tons of grains, as approved by Mr. President, across the 36 states of the federation as one of the programs to be rolled out this week.

“We are working hand in hand with NEMA and the DSS to ensure that the grains get to the right people in the right packages and quantities. Furthermore, 58,500 metric tons of milled rice from mega rice millers will also be released into the market for stabilization.”

The minister who hailed the resilience of the Nigerian people, urged them to back President Bola Tinubu’s government in its quest to address the challenges facing the country.

“I acknowledge the strength of the Nigerian people, and it is this resilience that will guide us through these difficult times. Let us stand together to support Mr. President in his strive for a better Nigeria,” Kyari said.

“Our government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is committed to addressing these challenges and working towards a more secure and prosperous future for all.”

The development is part of moves by the government to curb the hardship in the country. Since the removal of fuel subsidy and the floating of the naira, the cost of living in Nigeria has reached new highs.

There have been protests in several parts of the country as Nigerians sought the government’s attention to address the economic hardship. Several warehouses and food trucks have also been looted in some places.

But the Federal Government is calling for patience, assuring that the reforms by the Tinubu-led administration are set to yield fruit.

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Financial Crimes: Reps To Issue Warrant Of Arrest On Binance Chief Executive For Refusal To appear

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…as legal adviser say two executives were arrested by NSA
By Gloria Ikibah
The House of Representatives had said it will evoke its constitutional powers against Binance Holdings Limited and issue a warrant of arrest for its failed to appear for public hearing to respond to series of allegations of terrorism,  money laundry,  tax invasion among other financial crimes.
This was the resolution of the House Committee on Financial Crimes Chaired by Rep. Obinna Ginger, at its resumed investigative hearing on Monday in Abuja.
Naijablitznews.com recalled that a coalition of civil society organisations led by the Niger Delta Youth Council Worldwide and Empowerment for Unemployed Youths has written a petition against Binance Holdings Limited in January to investigate the firm’s activities.
The Committee had summoned the Managing Director of Binance, Richard Teng in a letter dated 12th December, 2023 and signed by its chairman, Rep. Ginger Onwusibe requesting his appearance at the hearing.
However, instead of the Management team of the Company to appear before the House Committee as required by law, a team of lawyers was sent, but were told by the committee that their representations will not be accepted.
Rather than appear before the committee Binance wrote through it’s lawyer Senator Ihenyen.
Speaking during the public hearing, in Abuja on Monday, the committee chairman, decried that the Chief Executive of Binance Holding limited, Mr Richard Teng has refused to appear before the committee after series of invitations.
Lawmaker stated that there was need to report to the larger House to evoke its constituonal powers for the arrest of Binance Executive.
Rep. Dogongaro therefore moved a motion for the committee to report to the larger house to enable it use its powers to arrest Binance Executives and make them appear before the committee.
The Chairman put it to a vote and it was unanimously adopted by committee members.
Rep. Ginger Onwusibe, while restating the resolve of the Committee to fight financial crimes maintained that, “the committee will be forced to recommend to the House to arrest Binance executive since they have failed to appear before the committee.
“As long as the committee is concerned,  Binance is not at this meeting because we have said it severally that we do not want representation by lawyers but the chief executives should appear before the committee.
“Binance is not here. We have taken a position on it in our last sitting that we are not going to entertain legal representation from Binance and that position stands.
“Based on the fact that Binance is not here, we need to make a recommendation to the House of Representatives for the House to invoke its powers of subpoena to issue a warrant for the leadership of Binance to be arrested and be brought to this Committee to answer questions of the grave allegations leveled against them in the petitions brought to us by the Empowerment for Unemployed Youths and Niger Delta youths Council.
“This Committee has resolved to recommend to the House to invoke its constituonal powers by issuing a subpoena and a warrant for Binance executives to be arrested and brought to this Committee to answer these questions relationship financing of terrorism, money laundering and other financial crimes as stated in the petition including evasion of tax.
“We thanks the petitioners for unearthing this grievous financial crimes going on in this country for more than six years now. Binance has been operating in the financial space of this country for more than six year and they have not less than 20 million Nigerians that they are exploiting.”
Earlier in his response, the legal team of Binance led by Senator Ihenyen who’s representation was rejected said Binance executives did not appear before the committee because two other executives of the organisation were arrested upon their arrival to Nigeria by the office of the National Security Adviser and still in custody.
According to him, other executives of the company which is not based in the country, were apprehensive because of two of their executives that were arrested recently and are still in custody.
He said: “Indeed we acknowledge that our client Binance was clearly given the time within it must respond to the petition as well as appear today before this committee
“Binance has been able to response to send a written responds dated 28 February 2024.
“The response to the petition attaches two annexures for purpose of fully responding to the issues and allegations raiswd by the petitioners in their written petition dated 5th December 2023.
“The second resolution was that Binance representatives must be here. We would like to plead your indulgence that the situation that Binance has been faced with particularly in the last seven days have forced a very difficult situation on it. What has happened is that two Binance executives who came into the country were arrested by another Nigerian authority specifically the National Security Adviser. And since then till date this two Binance executives are still in custody. For this reason it has been extremely difficult for the global of Binance to mobilize other executive members of the company to Nigeria because there is genuine concern about their safety and security. So this is the situation that we have been forced to contend with. This is not a show of any disrespect to this House
“We believe the responses given by our clients would to a large extent address any outstanding issues or issues raised by the petitioners. If there are any outstanding areas that Binance has to respond to either by being in Nigeria physically or by making further written correspondence, we will do our best as legal counsel in Nigeria to advice Binance to proceed accordingly subject to the discretion of this House.
When asked by Rep. Ginger if those two arrested were coming to respond to the invitation of the committee or for another invitation.
He responded” As the legal counsel to Binance, we have information that Binance was planning to have Representatives on the ground but at time these two persons were arrested, it had not been expressly communicated to us that these two persons are the delegates for that purpose.
“We are aware there are quite a number of executives spaning the region of Europe, America and Asia in the Binqnce team. It is possible that one of these persons who was arrested or none of these persons were going to be delegates to this Honourable House today.
“Following the arrest of two executive,  other persons could could not come into Nigeria because if the first if been arrested too.
“Binance has responded appropriately to the demands of the committee and as our client we are pleading that this honorable committee consider taking the report”, he added.
Naijablitznews.com reports that Binance Holdings Limited, operators of Digital Assets Exchange in Nigeria has been operating in Nigeria over 6 years allegedly without any adherence to financial regulatory frameworks and has been accused of exploiting Nigerians and committing other financial crimes.
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