By Hassan Haruna Ginsau
The National Conference’s committee on devolution of power yesterday came to an accord that mineral resources including oil should be under the executive legislative list, thus placing them under the Federal government’s control.
The committee, co-chaired by former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Obong Victor Attah, and former inspector general of police Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie also proposed an intervention fund be set up by the Federal government to aide States in mineral exploration.
Talking to newsmen after a lengthy closed door meeting, Attah read out the text of the “final decision of the committee on item 39-exclusive legislative list”
The decision read: Mines and all minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas provided that: 1.The governments of states where the mining activities take place shall be involved in matters relating thereto, and 2. The government of the federation shall make special grants to develop mines and minerals in states where such resources are underdeveloped.
Senator Ibrahim Mantu, also a member of the committee said; “We have unanimously decided that mineral resources, oil and other resources like solid minerals, bitumen and others should be under the exclusive legislative list, which means the federal government will take exclusive control of the management of these resources.
“Every state in this nation is blessed with one natural resource or the other, and we have neglected the development of these other resources, because oil is like what we call food is ready, nobody wants to actually spend any time on the development of other minerals”
He lamented how Government after government had neglected the development of solid minerals, and other minerals like bitumen which he said were in abundance in this nation, opting instead to focus on oil.
He went on to say; “We have now put a provision in our own recommendation that the states should be involved in the development of extraction of these minerals”, in other words they should be involved in the exploration of these minerals.
“Because the states where these minerals come from are today not having anything at all. We now recommend that they should have a say in exploration activities in their states, and at the same time, government should set aside a special fund for the development of other resources so that at the end of the day, every part of the country will bring something to the table, and not see one side as producers and the other consumers,” he added.