Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun has called on the Federal Government to explore and exploit minerals that have international value.
Oyetola made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the 2021 Annual Public Lecture organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Bwari branch, in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD).
The event is themed ‘Economic Diversification in the Post COVID-19 Era: Special focus on the Sustainable Development of Nigeria’s Coal and Gold’.
Oyetola, who was represented by Mr Adeniran Ibitoye, Special Adviser to the Governor on Water Resources and Energy, said that alternative mineral resources were overtaking oil and competing for supremacy in the global market.
He added that with such development, it was clear that nations seeking a viable place in the global economic scene must look away from oil and diversify their economies based on their comparative advantage.
“There is no doubt that the period when the debilitating price of oil determined the economy of nations, especially Nigeria has gone.
“Our nation must look under the belly of its soil for minerals whose worth have global economic value,” he said.
He said that it was on the basis of the above that the theme of the 2021 lecture was apt and timely.
According to him, the receding value of oil has taught Nigeria a lesson that it can no longer play politics with diversification.
Prof Idowu Olayinka, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, said that in spite of the large number of mineral occurrences known in Nigeria, currently none of them was large enough to be exploited.
Olayinka said that for a country to attain the status of a mining national such as Botswana, South Africa, Ghana among others must possess large and mineable ore deposits.
He also called for improvement of the living conditions of mining communities by providing access to healthcare, schools, portable waters among others.