According to reports, Wike made this known when Mr Uchechukwu Ogah, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
The Governor made it known that, “The federal government is carrying so much load that they are not supposed to carry. Allow states to develop these minerals and pay royalty to the federal government, that is the way it’s supposed to be”.
He urged the Minister to push for reforms that will enable states and local governments to take charge of the mining of solid minerals in their domains and then pay tax to the Federal Government.
Wike stressed that, “If the country fully harnesses the gold deposit in Zamfara as well as other minerals in other states of the federation, the country will make a lot of revenue from these minerals that can accelerate development”.
Alluding to the Ajaokuta Steel Company project, Wike made it known that it can generate huge revenues for the country and creating not less than 3,000 jobs.
He revealed that the federal government, for political reasons, have failed to actualise the country’s aspiration to become a major player in the global steel industry.
Meanwhile, the Minister responded to this by telling the Governor that he is in the state to share with him the vision and policy focus of the Federal Government for the development of the nation’s solid mineral resources.
The Minister made it known that his visit is to solicit for the support and partnership of the state government in ensuring the orderly and efficient exploitation of huge deposits of silica sand, glass sand and clay which are in the state for construction purposes and glass manufacture.
He said, “In addition, permit me to also remind you of the abundant sea salt yet to be exploited in Rivers as a state bordering the Atlantic Ocean, which might also be an interesting area for collaborative development”.
He praised the Governor, telling him, “Your administration has accomplished its mission as seen in the massive infrastructures, cultural integration, provision of essential social amenities and many other legacy projects for the prosperity of Rivers State people and Nigerians living and doing businesses in the State”.