Alake, minister in Tinubu’s cabinet in ‘Corruption’ mess, budgets N200b for project already completed by Buhari’s Govt

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Dele Alake, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, is currently under scrutiny following accusations of allocating N200b for a project previously completed by Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

This controversy emerged during the one-year performance review of ministers under President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

Tinubu, who took office on May 29, 2023, and his ministers, who were sworn in in August, have been showcasing their achievements and apologizing for any hardships, while promising a brighter future.

During Alake’s presentation, he announced a N200b budget allocation for the construction of a National GeoData Centre for the mining sector, which he referred to as ‘big data’. However, an investigation revealed that this ‘big data’ project was already completed in 2022 during Buhari’s tenure.

The National GeoData Centre, as confirmed by the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency (NSRMEA), was launched by then-president Buhari to gather and preserve geoscientific data on Nigeria for long-term use by various stakeholders.

Upon this discovery, Alake was accused of allocating a substantial budget for an already existing project. In response, Alake dismissed his accusers as uninformed and criticized the reports as sensationalism.

He emphasized that the Solid Minerals sector depends on scientific data to determine reserves of commercial quantity for investment decisions. While acknowledging the existence of the project under Buhari’s government, he highlighted the recent launch of the advanced Nigerian Minerals Resource Decision Support System, which aggregates various data to facilitate investment decision-making.

Alake argued that the data currently available is insufficient, necessitating ambitious data gathering efforts. He pointed out that the previous administration had identified this challenge, leading to the implementation of the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project. However, due to funding constraints, only five out of Nigeria’s 44 minerals were explored.

With Nigeria’s vast land area, Alake stated that the cost of a similar Airborne Survey would exceed the proposed N200 billion budget, which he claimed is not even available.

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