Rep Ottah Agbo Sponsors Bill On Nigerian Minerals And Mining Act

Rep Ottah Agbo Sponsors Bill On Nigerian Minerals And Mining Act

By Abdulateef Bamgbose              

The member representing Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpokwu Federal Constituency, Dr. Francis Ottah Agbo is sponsoring a bill to amend the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007.

The bill is meant to further strengthen the laws on minerals and to guide the process of mining as well as protect economic trees from destruction and guard against deforestation for a healthy green environment across the country.

The amendment redefines areas of high conservation value and high carbon stocks and enunciates what constitutes endangered ecological communities and areas of critically endangered species.

With the amendment, a protected tree cannot be taken “without a permit issued by a competent Forest Officer in the services of the State Governmentwhere the mining operation is taking place and under an obligation to undertake offset planting.

”Where this is the case, the bill will ensure the nurture replacement planting of the indigenous trees species in a site determined by the community or concerned group.

The amendment will include a proviso where “When a licensee or lessee whose operational activities requires rehabilitation and reclamation actions, has to undertake offset planting in alternative sites when the need arises”.

It will also provide for a Forest Officer as an Officer so designated by the State Government’s Ministry responsible for sustainable forest management, utilization, conservation and regeneration of forests related matters in the concession area where the minerals and mining activities are taking place.

Vast areas in the three local governments that make up Enone constituency are believed to be high in mineral deposits hence the need for a strong legislation to protect the environment from devastation before serous mining activities commence.

The legislation is bound to benefit Nigeria, Benue State and Enone Constituency in particular, immensely if the amendments sail through.

The Honourable Member has only recently in the bid to boost the economy of his constituency, also facilitated the siting of the Agro Processing Zone in Ulayi.

When completed, it will  enhance the processing of cassava for consumption, industrial use and for export, thereby, providing gainful job opportunities and raising the political economy of the constituency.

Recall that each of the six-geo political zones in the country, has an Agro-Processing Zone and Dr. Ottah Agbo succeeded in bringing the North Central slot to Enone and particularly in Ulayi district of BENUE State.

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