The ECOWAS Federation of Chamber of Mines (ECEFCOM) on Monday congratulated President Bola Tinubu on his election as the chairman of the economic community.
The Chairman, Executive Council of the ECOWAS ECEFCOM, Alhaji Sani Shehu, said this in a statement issued to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Shehu said that the ECEFCOM strongly believed that Tinubu’s well deserved election of the ECOWAS came at a time when countries in the West African sub-region needed his experience.
He said that the President’s experience and support would help to address myriads of political and economic challenges bedeviling the sub-region.
“We heartily rejoice with the president of Nigeria over his election as Chairman of ECOWAS.
“Its a feat that is not surprising that Tinubu has distinguished himself as a leader capable of transforming the economic fortunes of Nigeria and of the member countries of ECOWAS.
“The ECOWAS Federation of Chamber of Mines (ECEFCOM) therefore, welcomes Mr President’s leadership of ECOWAS with great enthusiasm.
“Our expectations are positive and high, considering his track record in leadership and industry.
“We look forward to working with the president in his capacity as chairman of ECOWAS and president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We are confident that the cooperation we seek will be instrumental in turning around the economic fortunes of the West African sub-region and the African continent by extension,” he said.
Shehu said that Tinubu had a great zeal and preparedness to take West Africa to the next economic level.
He called on the president to use his good office to bring innovative development in the ECOWAS.
“On our part at the ECOWAS Federation of Chamber of Mines, we have resolved to support and work with the ECOWAS under the chairmanship of the president.
“Our commitment is to ensure that we assist him to rectify a number of challenges that are common in the mining sector of the sub-region.
“The challenges include foreign dominance of the mining/extractive sector, especially the very disturbing illegal mining operations of some Chinese nationals in the West African sub-region.”
Shehu said that some Chinese nationals contributed to the development of West African mining sector, while some involved in illegal mining activities.
“While we appreciate the contribution of the Chinese, we also appeal to the president to intervene and address the problem in line with the provision of the charter establishing the organisation.
“In fairness to the Chinese, some of their nationals deserve commendation for their efforts that have helped to advance the economic development of the region.
“Except that some Chinese nationals engaged in illegal mining operations which has become very destructive of the economy of the member nations of ECOWAS.
“The illegal mining activities of the Chinese have been particularly worrisome and responsible for apprehension in some parts of Africa.
“Some local mining communities in the sub-region have been at war with Chinese whom they say are destroying the environment through illegal mining operations,” he said.
Shehu also called on the president to address the challenges of cross border conflicts arising in the sub-region as a result of mineral theft.
He said that solid minerals did not recognise border and could be moved illegally from one country to another.
He said that the border communities sometimes tended to have some misunderstanding due to the movement of solid mineral across the nations in the sub region.
“We appeal to the newly elected chairman of ECOWAS to initiate a value addition strategy on mineral from countries in the sub region.
“Strategy that will put an end to the exportation of raw, unprocessed mineral ores from ECOWAS member states.
“We appeal to the president as well, to establish a win-win diplomatic relationship with industrial nations such as China, Europe, U.S.
“This will encourage countries in the West African sub region to establish a value addition and beneficiation centres and mineral processing centres in West African countries that can process mineral to end users in the sub region.
“When this is done, the region will have additional income and create massive employment. It will also facilitate technology transfer to the sub-region.”
Shehu urged the president to adopt a uniform policy that would boost the standard of living in the West African sub-region.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria