Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde has urged the Federal Government to site the hub of the nation’s gemstone market in the state, to boost the mining industry.
The governor, receiving the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, at the Government House, Agodi Ibadan, sought the support of the Federal Government to curb the activities of illegal miners.
He said the state had already been putting structures in place to enhance the development of its solid mineral development sector and position the state to benefit maximally from the immense opportunities available in the sector.
The governor added that in line with his promise to build infrastructure that targets the economic expansion agenda of the administration, a number of projects are being put up to support the mining industry.
He said: “We do have some aspirations, which I think we can collaborate on, especially the gemstone market. It is informal right now, but we want to formalise it. I know you are from Ogun State, but Abeokuta should not even be in competition with us and I will tell you why.
“Here, we are putting up a number of projects that we think will support the mining industry, especially in the aspect of the expansion of Ibadan Airport.
“So, quite frankly, if we have the gemstone market, we will basically just take off from there to anywhere in the world and that is what we want to do.”
“Ibadan used to be a regional capital and we have a fairly developed infrastructure. So, I think you should just give the gemstone market to us and let us sign it up this evening.”
Adegbite said the essence of the visit was to spread the gospel of mining to Oyo State and all over Nigeria, adding: “We are in Oyo State essentially to spread the gospel of mining all over Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari, since assumption of office, has tried so much to diversify the economy, especially through the mining sector and agriculture.
“We have relied so much on oil and gas and whenever the vagaries of the oil prices happen in the international market, Nigeria catches the cold; our economy is in tatters. But to avoid that, there is massive injection of efforts and campaigns into agriculture, which has started yielding results.”