Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Monday said dependence on oil was one of the problems of the country.
He said this had become pertinent because the Federal Government which unilaterally controlled the country rich minerals endowment had failed to translate the minerals wealth into overall economic development.
Wike made this assertion when the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Uchechukwu Ogah, paid him a visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The governor, in a statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, maintained that in order for the country to benefit from its vast endowment, the Federal Government should concentrate on formulation of policies that would facilitate an improvement in the governance of the mining sector to improve social welfare of the citizens.
“The Federal Government is carrying so much load that it is not supposed to carry. Allow states to develop these minerals and pay royalty to the Federal Government. That is the way it’s supposed to be.”
“It is very important for people to know that part of the problem in this country is that everybody is depending on oil, when we are also supposed to look at other minerals. Minerals play a great role in terms of raising revenue for any country. So, our overemphasis on oil has reduced our impact on other minerals,” Wike stated.
He noted that if the country fully harness the gold deposit in Zamfara as well as other minerals in other states of the federation, the country would make a lot of revenue from these minerals that can accelerate her development.
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Uchechukwu Ogah, told the governor he was in the state to share with him the vision and policy focus of the Federal Government for the development of the nation’s solid mineral resources.
According to him, his visit is to solicit the support and partnership of the Government of Rivers State in ensuring the orderly and efficient exploitation of huge deposits of silica sand, glass sand and clay in the state.