Minister Of Mines Dele Alake Responds To Allegations Of Budgeting N200bn For Project Executed By Buhari's Govt


The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake is fighting to clear his name following allegation that he has budgeted N200b for a project executed by the previous government of Muhammadu Buhari.

The allegation came to the fore during the one year scorecards being reeled out by ministers in the government of Bola Tinubu.

Tinubu was inaugurated president on May 29, 2023, and his ministers were sworn in in August.

To commemorate one year in office, all the ministers have been touting their performances in office between apologising for the hardships and sermonising that the future is bright.

When it was the turn of Alake a few days ago, he intimated that a whopping N200b would be spent to build a National GeoData Centre for the mining sector. Alake, used to hyperbole, called it ‘big data’.

Soon, his ministry was taken for scrutiny. The examination showed that what Alake called ‘big data’ had been built in 2022 by the government of Buhari.

A visit to the website of the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency (NSRMEA) confirmed then president, Buhari launched the National GeoData Centre to collect and preserve geoscientific data and information on Nigeria, making them available for the long-term to a wide range of users and communities.

It targets the mining, geoscientists, local and international investors, academics and researchers by making data readily available.

Following the discovery, Alake was accused of budgeting the huge sum for a project already in existence.

But in a swift reaction via a statement on Saturday when contacted with the allegation, Alake described those accusing him of corruption as “ignoramus all.”

He described various reports on the project as “offensive” arguing the report was written to titillate people’s “appetite for sensational hogwash, the pastime of gatecrashers.”

He explained that the Solid Minerals sector relies on scientific data on the nature and occurrence of rocks underground to determine reserves of commercial quantity that investors can use to make decisions on business ventures.

According to him, the National GeoData Centre is the repository of geological data.

While not denying that the Buhari government indeed launched the project, he pointed out that, “We have improved on it with the launch of the advanced Nigerian Minerals Resource Decision Support System,” which he launched on May 14.

He argued that the new system aggregates geological, hydrological, demographic and economic data to facilitate investment decision making.

“The Data Centre we have established must have accurate and comprehensive data to cater for investors seeking to mine over 44 minerals,” Alake said.

He further argued that, “If it doesn’t, investors won’t take Nigeria seriously. If the government is able to make the data available at the data centre, it will de-risk investment and enable them to venture into actual extraction and processing.”

He stressed that the data in the facility is grossly inadequate, hence the need for ambitious and aggressive data gathering to fill the gap.

“This challenge was identified by the previous administration. It led to the implementation of the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project.

“Due to funding constraints, NIMEP explored only five out of Nigeria’s 44 minerals and was restricted to specific regions of estimated occurrences,” he stated.

He said with Nigeria’s land space of 923,768 square kilometres, more than 12 times the size of Sierra Leone, the cost of a similar Airborne Survey will exceed the N200 billion budget proposed – which he said is not even available.



Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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