By Lateef Taiwo
The Federal government on Thursday in Abuja inaugurated her National Geodata Centre (NGC) at the headquarters of the Nigerian Geological Survey (NGSA), in Abuja.
Performing the inauguration ceremony, minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite expressed delight that the milestone was being achieved within his tenure in office.
He said what the development stands for, is that Nigeria is now fully prepared to showcase its rich mineral potentials and attract local and international investors into the sector for the overall growth of the economy.
A geodata centre represents the long term national geoscience knowledge based, which is essential for identifying the mineral potential of a country.
According to him, most renowned mining countries, such as Australia, Canada, Namibia in Africa, are successful due to their policy of open access to data.
“It is common knowledge that mining companies of many countries are willing to choose, and they decide where to go and invest based on the availability of data, so as to minimise their risk and, of course, maximise their profit.
“The World Bank has been assisting Nigeria through the MINDIVER project, to attain data that would be able to attract the requisite investment into the mining sector,” he said.
Adegbite noted that the geodata centre being launched would create a modern digital accessible infrastructure, that would be domiciled at the NGSA.
“It has a particular focus on data relevant to the mineral sector, with the aim of improving access by investors to data and information,” he noted further, stressing that the centre is not static continual information or data will be uploaded onto it centre from time to time.
He said though centre is located at the headquarters of the NGSA, it’s linked with it’s two arms in Kaduna, i.e. the NGSA office there and then the National steel Raw Material Agency.
“The three of them are linked by dedicated platforms which have come to stay and the data will be accessible would-be investors, both local and international,” he said.
He commended NGSA for the various milestones achieved by the agency under him as Minister, adding that one of such is the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project, NIMEP, which proved to be successful with “very good results”.
In her address earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, stressed the importance the federal government attach to the geodata project, noting that the centre was designed as a one-stop shop for geoscientific data and information.
“The Nigerian Geo-Data Centre was conceived as a national reliable repository of digital geoscience information on Nigeria. It was designed to be robust, comprehensive, easy to find and readily accessible.
“Due fo its importance as a one stop shop for geoscientific data and information, the British Geological Survey (BGS) UK was contracted to establish this high level infrastructure that provides security, resilience, access to mining investors, researchers, development experts and the general public,” she said.
Giving the vote of thanks, the director general, NGSA, Abdulrazak Garba appreciated the Minister for providing the right leadership and enabling environment for the agency to succeed, while also commending the support of the World Bank assisted MINDIVER project and the technical partners.