The Young Democratic movement and South-South Youth Assembly have issued a three day ultimatum for the Federal Government to present details of both past and present gold or other mineral sales.
The youth groups have also called for proceeds of all minerals extracted in any part of the country to be shared among all the states as it is the case with oil derivatives from the Niger Delta region.
In a joint press conference in Uyo on Tuesday, the youth groups which spoke through Kuseme Idiong, Leader, Young Democratic Movement (YDM) and Comrade Victor Thompson Speaker, South-South Youth Assembly (SSYA), threatened a mass protest should government fail to meet their demands.
In a press text titled “Actualize one-Nigeria Apothegm on Zamfara Gold not only on Niger Delta oil”, the groups recalled that Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State recently sold gold bar to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The, Governor, according to the groups has no right to sell the mineral resources that belong to the federal government.”
The youth groups insisted that the gold found in any state belongs to the federal government, the revenue generated from such mineral resources like gold are to be shared among all the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), just as it is done with the Niger Delta Oil. “The state governor has no such audacity to sell gold bar to the apex bank worth close to about N5 billion.”
For the record, Item 39 under the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) states that mines and minerals including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas are exclusively under the control of the federal government.
“The Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act 2007, which was passed into law on March 16, 2007, to repeal the Minerals and Mining Act, No. 34 of 1999 for the purposes of regulating the exploration and exploitation of solid materials in Nigeria vested the control of all properties and minerals in Nigeria in the state, and prohibits unauthorised exploration or exploitation of minerals.”
“The Act further stated that all lands in which minerals have been found in commercial quantities shall from the commencement of the Act be acquired by the federal government in accordance with the Land Use Act. And our question today is; Has the Federal Government acquired all the lands where minerals are found? If yes, why have the states not benefited from proceeds from mining activities on such lands”, they said.
Listing its other demands, the youth groups say; “The Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly should revisit the derivative funds formula for oil rich Niger Delta states as oil producing states are fed below the 13% derivation.”
“Failure to upwardly review the derivative funds formula for oil rich Niger Delta states, the Federal Government must allow Niger Delta to directly sell her oil just as the recent case of Zamfara gold bar.”
“We give the Federal Government uptil Saturday, October 24, 2020 to give a robust and satisfactory response to our demands else the Youths of Niger Delta shall on Tuesday, October 26, 2020 embark on a Nationwide protest, drawing the attention of the international community to this terrible situation. We must warn that we will not leave the streets until our demands are met”.