By Henry Odeh
Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has inaugurated the board of the Nigerian Marble Mining Company, charging the members to attract investments to the company within the shortest time.
Governor Makinde, who gave the assurance that his administration would give the board the needed support to ensure that its operations are elevated from the subsistence level, maintained that mineral development is one of the core areas of focus in his administration’s economic expansion drive.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that Governor Makinde stated this while inaugurating the board at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, on Friday.
The members of the board include Engrs. Frank Odom and Imam A. Ganiyu (representatives of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development); Dr. Jadesola Lakulo-Sodipe, Chief Jacob Gbadebo Adetoro and Chief Mrs. C.J. Aremu (representatives of the Asamu family of Igbeti).
Others are Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Barr. Oluwaseun Asamu, Executive Chairman of the Mineral Development Agency, Mr. Abiodun Oni and the Director-General of the Oyo State Investment and Public-Private Partnership Agency, Hon. Segun Ogunwuyi (representatives of the Oyo State government) and the chairman of Olorunsogo Local Government, Igbeti.
In his speech, Governor Makinde charged the board to change the narrative of the company to attract investments, even as he charged the board to take care of the environment, noting that the state takes its environment seriously.
He said: “I want to say congratulations to you and wish you a successful tenure. I believe this has been done in the past. I had a chance meeting with the former governor of the state and discussed with him one of the promises he made during the 2015 campaign, that he promised to make solid mineral development a priority and an avenue for the state to expand its economy.
After the discussion, he came back and inaugurated the board.
“I want to ask this board that this should be taken seriously. You need to, within the shortest possible time, try to bring in investments into the company. And I give you the assurance that Oyo State will give you the needed support to ensure that the operation of the Nigerian Marble Company is elevated from the subsistence level where it is right now.
“The link between Oyo State and Igbeti Marble is something that they know worldwide but we have not been able to do much in terms of expanding the company’s financial base, in terms of employment of a lot of our people from the catchment area, and setting a real target for ourselves.
“While I congratulate you, I also want to tell you that you have a lot of work ahead of you. This is a government that is ready to change the narrative of the company. So, feel free to come to us at any time and we will support you; but we want to see Igbeti Marble back on the world map.”
Speaking on the environmental impact of the company, Governor Makinde charged the board to be proactive in ensuring that the company protects the environment it operates in, warning that the company must put in place necessary measures to restore the environment where possible.
“Our environment is really dear to us. We want your operation to take charge of the environment. We don’t want any destruction. Please, take care of where your mining operation will impact on the environment and lives of our people.
Ensure you do restoration activities where possible. I am excited about what is possible here and I look forward to a changed story.
“We will award, shortly, the Saki-Igboho road. So, you can basically take advantage of the improved infrastructure of the area.
I congratulate and look forward to a continuous engagement to change the story of Igbeti Marble,” he said.