Worried by the spate at which children are being used as labourers in most mining fields across the country, the Nigerian Society of Mining Engineers (NSME), has requested the Federal Government of Nigeria to as a matter of urgency put in place legislation that will halt the menace of child labour in mines fields.
The call was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of its 20th Annual General Meeting and International Conference held in Gombe, Thursday afternoon stating that the stoppage of child labour could be done through enforcement of the International Labour Organization (ILO) resolution on child labour.
According to the communique signed by the National President of NSME, Professor Benson S. Jatau and General Secretary, Engineer Anthony U. Ojile, the theme of this years’ AGM/International Conference was, ‘Repositioning the Nigerian Mining Sector for Accelerated National Development’.
The engineers stated that the Federal Government needs to ensure total compliance with environmental monitoring and enforcement provisions with respect to minerals exploration, mining, value addition and environmental concerns.
The society however commended the Federal Government for identifying the mining and mineral sectors’ as the key driver in her quest for national development through her economic diversification programme.
It also urged the Federal Government to leverage the impact of the junior mining companies on economic diversification through minerals exploration, mining and value addition to facilitate the attraction of major mining companies into the Nigerian mining sector.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Professor Benson said that the society had used its various conferences in the past to provide solutions to the myriad of challenges confronting the mineral sector in the country through the participation of key stakeholders from the ministry of mines and steel development at both state and federal government levels.
Others he said are, related agencies/companies, intervention agencies, development partners and funding agencies in the mineral project, private and allied construction and international organisations as well as academia within and without.
Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, said though Nigeria’s mining sector has remained largely underdeveloped despite huge mineral finds hosted in favourable geological formations, the federal government has maintained a policy focus and put in efforts in developing the minerals sector.
According to him, “our goal is to grow the capacity of the mining industry to serve as a reliable alternative revenue source for national development.”
This is more compelling now given the volatility of the oil revenues and this informed government decision to designate mining and agriculture sectors as the focal points of drive for none oil sources.”
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