By Victoria Onehi
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Ach. Olamilekan Adegbite has said Nigeria will soon be a gemstone and jewelry destination for other countries.
The Minister disclosed this on Friday, during the graduation ceremony of the first batch of the gemstone and jewelry making trainees of the Abuja Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Adegbite said the seven months training was part of the Federal Governments’ efforts at discouraging exportation of raw ore and ensuring that whatever is produced in the country is also processed in Nigeria. This, according to him, would create jobs and wealth for the youth.
“This programme was designed to impart knowledge on you, so that we can make jewelries in Nigeria. We are going to retain our gold and gemstones in Nigeria, add value to it, sell to our people and export to other countries which would increase the sectors contribution to the GDP.'”
The Minister said that the Gemstones and Jewelry trainees would feed into the gold souk and the gemstone market being constructed in Kano and Ibadan respectively.
Adegbite charged the graduants to impart the knowledge they have acquired to others in their communities.” The best gift you can impart on anyone is knowledge and this is what you have been endowed with. What you have acquired in the last seven (7) months is to help yourselves to be engaged meaningfully and fruitfully but more importantly, to help this country to move forward, create employment and combat youth restiveness.
“You will not be cast adrift, we are working with your State Governments to provide space where you can operate while we empower you with equipments and materials to practice your skills.” The Minister said.
Adegbite further disclosed that the second phase of the training is in progress.
In his opening remarks, the Project Coordinator, Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) Project, Engr. Sallim Salaam, appreciated the minister for his support. He disclosed that there are plans for advanced training for the 21 successful master training graduands, this, he said would be communicated to them in due course.
The Senior Technical Adviser, MINDIVER Project, Mr. Linus Adie in his closing remarks, stated that in the next few years, the Minister will look back and be very proud that he put in all his energy to ensure that the Ministry and MINDIVER see the programme come to a reality.
He said the essence of the programme is for Nigerians to stop buying jewelries outside the Country.
One of the graduands from Edo states, Jessica Ogievaz who spoke on behalf of her classmate, said they have gained so much skills and knowledge throughout the training and as the first beneficiaries of the programme, they are aware that a lot of eyes are on them to show what they have learnt.
She said with a good empowerment, they will be able to strengthen the local jewelry sector of Nigeria which is the goal of the project.