The Federal Government has begun aeromagnetic survey in selected states of the federation with a view to improving the availability of geological information and data that would enhance the diversification of the economy through mineral sector development.
To achieve that, the Federal Government has engaged a consultant (Excalibur) to carry out the survey in the new carved out areas in Ogun, Oyo, and Edo States in the South-West borders and parts of Kogi and Kwara States in the North-Central states.
The task, according to the government, would involve the use of specialised aircraft flying at very low altitude to capture magnetic anomalies in the affected areas and localities. In Edo State for instance, the Federal Government explained that the areas the aircraft would fly at low altitude to capture geological information and data, would include Fugar in Etsako Central Local Government Area, Etsako Central, Etsako East, Igueben, Ikpoba – Okha and Oredo Local Government Areas.
To mitigate the impact, palpable fears and tension low flying aircraft usually generates, the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver) has deployed a team to Sensitise affected communities within the affected States.
Speaking on the the development and additional Blocks of the Geophysical Mapping Survey in Edo State, Mr Ishaku Kigbu, the Media and Communication Officer of the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver), a World Bank Assisted Project, under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, said the team was in Edo State for renewed sensitisation after the initial one carried out prior to the commencement of the activity.
Kigbu stated that the Airborne Geophysical Mapping Survey started in June 2021, where a robust sensitisation and enlightenment campaign was employed in the 19 States that were to be covered by the activity, adding that the programme, which experienced overlaps due to weather conditions and logistical reasons, had been progressing well since it started.
According to him, the current sensitisation exercise being embarked upon was to cover additional areas carved out to further re-sensitise the people of Edo State not to panic upon sighting the aircraft within two weeks from now, noting that the reassurance was necessary given the current security situation in the country and coupled with the heightened electioneering season.
He said the consultant handling the project had achieved over 40% of the data acquisition in the South-West parts of Nigeria without any major challenge or social tension; therefore the exercise remained very safe.
He said the expanded survey also became necessary in order to assist the mining sector in generating accurate information on the mineral potential of Edo State and affected areas following increased reports on artisanal mining activities around the western border.
Kigbu further disclosed that the low flights that might be experienced by the people of Edo State between February 13 and 23, and pleaded that that should not be misconstrued as an attack on the people, but a continuation of data acquisition in the affected areas of the State.
He further stated that “the sensitisation is also to assure the people of the state not to panic either as a result of the loud noise of the aircraft due to the low flying altitude or pattern of movement of the aircraft given the current security situation in the country and ensure that they do not panic or get misinformed and entertain unnecessary fears that may lead to tension in the State”.
According to him, we are in the state for renewed sensitisation since awareness on the expanded survey has not been carried out”.
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