Nigeria Cannot Remain Poor With Its Vast Mineral Wealth – Alake

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Nigeria cannot continue to be a poor country while it is blessed with such enormous wealth in mineral resources across every state in the country

 

Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake made this comment in Abuja on Thursday at the opening of the National Gemstone and Jewellery Show and the presentation of certificates to graduates of MinDiver-sponsored gemstone and jewelry-making programme in Nigeria.

 

Alake stated the importance of the gemstone and jewelry-making industry in bringing wealth to Nigeria.

 

The minister, who presented the starter packs to the trainees of MinDiver skill acquisition programme in the jewelry and gemstone sub-sector of the mineral and metals industry, told them they were now equipped with the necessary skills to contribute to the growth of the sector.

 

Alake said: “There is no state in this country that has not got one type of solid mineral, be it gemstones, and other minerals. We have them all. So why Nigeria should be talking of poverty?

 

“If we would have done the needful years and decades ago, if we had diverted our attention to this sector, it is capable of sustaining the Nigerian economy. But we didn’t, because we had oil and we had free flow of petrol dollars that shut our eyes to those critical sectors, like solid minerals, like the gemstone and jewellery, or like agriculture. But today we’re here because the nation can no longer solely rely on petro dollars.”

 

He noted that the world is moving away from fossil fuels and other energy sources that contribute significantly to global warming, to green energy sources, and this source is solid minerals which are critical to transiting the world into less suffocation by global warming.

 

In his speech, MinDiver project coordinator, Engr. Sallim Salaam said the occasion was meant to celebrate the artistry, craftsmanship and beauty of jewellery locally produced in Nigeria.

 

He also said the event provided an avenue for the graduates of jewellery-making and design to showcase their recently acquired skills and jewellery products.

 

“They are here to have the opportunity to interface with their seniors in the jewellery industry,” he said.

 

According to him, the exhibitors had worked tirelessly to showcase the most innovative jewellery products, the latest trends, techniques, and materials for participants.

 

He reserved gratitude to the minister and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry for their support and cooperation and the confidence they reposed in the MinDiver Project team.

 

He told the graduates that after going through the MInDiver sponsored Master Training and advanced training programme in jewellery-making, the objective was for them to return to their respective states to train more people with the support of their state governments.

 

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), Dr. Mary Ogbe, appealed to the states governors to assist the graduates of gemstone and jewelry-making with funds to take off their businesses.

 

The exhibition showcased the intricate and stunning jewellery pieces created by the MinDiver graduates and other independent exhibitors, highlighting the creativity and craftsmanship that exists within the industry.

 

The event was attended by government officials, industry stakeholders, and members of the public, all of whom were impressed by the quality and innovation on display.

 

LEADERSHIP reports that the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver), a World Bank-backed facility has been involved in several projects and programmes towards the development of the country’s minerals and mines sector.

 

Along this line, it has trained four batches of 96 young Nigerians in Master Training programme in jewellery-making and about 36 others in advanced training in jewellery-making.

 

One of the fourth batch of the 25 trainees in gemstone and jewellery making, Felicitas Ella from Cross River State said she was privileged to be included in the life-changing economic skills.

 

She described the training as ‘impactful’ even as she commended the trainers and the programme coordinators for their patience, accommodation and thoroughness during the four-month training programmes.

 

According to her, she will use the starter pack to start small and seek funds to grow the business.

 

An independent exhibitor and geologist, Christian Okpara, who came for the show from Jos, said the business is lucrative if one knew his onions, otherwise he would lose his investment.

 

He applauded the ministry for training young Nigerians in the business.

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