WELCOME TO NIGERIA

With a population of almost 140 million people comprising of over 250 ethnic groups, Nigeria is a blend of exciting cultural diversity that has produced a land of unparalleled opportunities with warm, friendly people. It is symbolic of our unity in diversity that adherents of Christianity, Islam and traditional animists co-exist, very often in the same families.

Located just above the equator with a coastline stretching over 800 miles, Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world where such ecosystems as the mangrove and rain forests of the south, rich savannah plains in the middle and brown sand dunes of the Sahara in north can be seen in a day. Combine these with the mountain ranges, deep valleys and hundreds of rivers, lakes and waterfalls that dot the country and you have a tourist haven that is unspoiled and virtually undiscovered. Adventure beckons at every turn.

Democratically governed and undergoing social and economic reforms, the country is poised for growth and development in every sector. With a rapidly expanding middle class earning higher incomes, returns on investments in Nigeria are among the highest in the world. The country is blessed with vast natural resources and is home to some of the world’s notable achievers in sciences, economics, business, sports, entertainment, the arts and many more.

Nigeria offers a delightful microcosm of all you might expect to see in a land which is home to every fifth African and which is aptly described as the Heart of Africa. Discover the sights, the sounds and the wonders of the country here. Feel the throb of traditional drums; hear the thunder of its many waterfalls; see the flush and fauna of its landscape and feel the magnetism of it’s people. Welcome to Nigeria.

NIGERIA: ENJOY SIGHTS OF A LIFETIME

Nigeria, with a land mass of over 356,000 square miles is a country with spectacular sights ,a wide range of fauna and exciting places for vacationing, exploration and sightseeing. The country is blessed with tropical rain forests, savannah grasslands, mangrove swamps and the sahel savannah near the Sahara.

Visitors to Nigeria will be thrilled by the marvels of nature that abound in the land, rare, amazing plants and animals seen only on special television programmes or magazines. These plants and animals live in their natural habitats undisturbed by man. Nature has also endowed Nigeria with many natural resources and with some of the wonders of the natural world, which can be viewed by visitors to those locations.

NATURAL TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Nigeria’s prime natural tourist attractions include the following:

Ikogosi Warm Springs – this is a natural warm spring that flows and mixes with cold water issuing from another spring. This place attracts tourists from all over the world.

Owu Falls – located in Kwara State of Nigeria, it is the steepest natural waterfall in West Africa and is surrounded by a tropical rainforest in which can be found a wide range of animals and plants not seen in other parts of the world.

Niger-Benue Confluence – This is where the Rivers Niger and Benue join at Lokoja. It can be toured on available boats, on canoes or viewed from the a closeby hill giving a panoramic view of the confluence.


Assop Falls – located about 40 miles from Jos city, it is a lovely place for picnicking, swimming and enjoying the grand view of the scenic landscape.

Wikki Warm Springs – Deep inside the Yankari Game Reserve is this warm water spring that stays the same warm temperature day and night.

With a coastline of about 350 miles, Nigeria has natural sites with tropical coconuts, mangrove and other seaside vegetation for vacationers and visitors to enjoy the Atlantic. Several beaches are open to visitors including Badagry, Lekki, Bar, Eleko, Calabar etc.

FESTIVALS TO SEE

The display of the full culture and heritage of the people of Nigeria is usually colourful, exciting and memorable. Periodic festivals of the people include the following which tourists will find remarkable and interesting:

EYO FESTIVAL: This annual festival of the people of the Eko people of Lagos holds annually and usually culminates in the display of masquerades adorned resplendently in white flowing dresses and hats to match.

KWA-GHIR FESTIVAL: A festival of the Tiv people in Benue state of Nigeria, it is a display of traditional masquerades, puppet theater, some forms of acrobatics, dancing, music and sartorial display. A colourful festival indeed, it attracts many people and is accentuated by the friendliness and warm welcome of the Tiv people of Nigeria.

THE DURBAR: This is usually a festival culminating in a horse race at the behest of an Emir, a traditional ruler. With roots in the Islamic way of life, the Durbar is colourful, exciting and open to all to watch.

ARGUNGU FISHING FESTIVAL: Argungu is located in Sokoto state in the North Western part of Nigeria. It is famous for its fishing festival in which a lake is stocked with fish and which are fed until the time of the festival. Individuals go into the lake without the aid of boats and the competition goes the one with the largest catch. This festival is international and attracts visitors from all over the world.

ARGUNGU MOTOR RALLY: As part of the fishing festival, car manufacturers and marketers have organised the annual motor rally in which cars go through an endurance race over country roads. Notable names like Toyota, Mercedes and Peugeot feature in the rally.

BOAT REGATTA: The Izons and other peoples of the Niger Delta Area have festivals that include extremely colourful boat regattas and water races. Canoe races are also a feature and visitors are attracted to these from various parts of the world.


NEW YAM FESTIVAL OF THE IGBOS: The new yam festival is rooted in the ancient worship of the gods of the land for a fruitful harvest. Modernised and still as flamboyant as ever, the festival holds around August and features masquerades, traditional dances, wrestling competitions and other sporting and gaming events.

OTHER TOURIST/ VACATIONING SITES

KAINJI LAKE GAME RESERVE: See elephants, lions, hippos and crocodiles in their natural habitats. Also visit the craft shops at Wawa and enjoy the delicate cuisine of the local communities. This game reserve is located in Niger and Kwara states of Nigeria.

ESIE MUSEUM: this museum displays terracotta artifacts and figurines dating from the 13th to the 16th century and shown to be doing various things from dancing to weaving. The Esie Museum is located in Esie town, about 100km from Ilorin in Kwara State.


GOLF COURSES: Nigeria has many golf courses where vacationers can get the best of games surrounded by the grandest views of nature. Golf courses include the IBB Golf Course in Abuja, Lamingo in Jos, and others in Ewekoro, Ikeja, Ilorin, Ibadan and other parts of Nigeria.

ROCK PAINTINGS OF BIRNIN KUDU: Reputed to be thousands of years old, these painting depict the lifestyle of the people that inhabited that area of Jigawa State in times gone by.

OBUDU CATTLE RANCH: The ranch is located in Cross River state of Nigeria and has near temperate climate owing to its location on high hills. As a tourist attraction, it has a waterfall, a gorilla habitat, and opportunities to see a variety of birds.

Visitors to Nigeria will find a warm welcome from the people. Airlines have regular shuttle flights from Lagos to the major tourist and commercial centres of the country. Hotels and guest houses also provide excellent local and international cuisine as desired by visitors.

NIGERIA THE BEAUTIFUL

With more than two hundred and fifty culturally vibrant indigenous ethnic groups, and positive influences from around the world, Nigeria offers a very broad spectrum in entertainment. Music, dance, drama, sports, festivals, carnivals, regattas, beauty pageants, fashion shows, movies, circuses and even lifestyles, reflect the rich cultural mix and diversity of Nigeria as the world’s largest black nation. Nigeria personifies the dictum “ black is beautiful” and entertainment reflects this joie de vivre.

Music rings in the soul of every Nigerian, and the genres include highlife, kalango, apala, juju, afrobeat, egwu ogene, gospel, jazz, hiphop , reggae, R & B and soul. Internationally acclaimed Nigerian stars like Fela, Onyeka, King Sunny Ade, Oriental Brothers, Ebenezer Obey, Sade, Seal, Majek Fashek, Bobby Benson, Rex Jim Lawson, Dan Maraya Jos and Osita Osadebe, have blazed forth from the Nigerian firmament to light up the world with unforgettable songs.

The more contemporary and younger crop of musicians currently rocking the continent include Lagbaja, Tony Tetuila, Femi Kuti, Plantashon Boyz, Kush, Daddy Showkey and Tu Face. Even Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, was a singer and recorded an album in Nigeria.

Dance offers as much variety as the music and traditional delights include the Atilogwu, Nkpokiti and Ohafia War dances in the east, Swange in Tivland in the middle belt, Ekemini in Akwa Ibom and Bata in Yoruba land to the west.

Contemporary dance also has a large following in the cosmopolitan cities and state capitals. Naturally, discoes also exist for the youth and the young at heart.

Nollywood is a major land mark in and source of pride to Nigeria. Possibly the 3rd largest single – country producer of movies in all genres, the Nigerian film industry is ranked after Hollywood in the USA and Bollywood in India. It coined its name in the tradition of the two leading film centres it intends to compete with. And the billion naira industry is so hot, it is inspiring collaboration across its borders.

Nollywood has produced darling stars like RMD, Genevieve Nnaji, Liz Benson, Olu Jacobs, Ramsey Noah, Pete Edochie and Regina Askia.

Nigeria is proud to have a vibrant and growing indigenous language movie industry. This is vital for the preservation of the rich cultural heritage that is a source of national strength and pride.

Films in Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and other languages are increasingly subtitled to enable English language speakers to enjoy the experience.

Festival, carnivals, regattas, durbars and Benin parties are very prominent socio – culturally stimulating forms of entertainment in the nation.

The regattas are largely ceremonial boat events in the riverine and coastal areas. The Lagos boat regatta is a memorable event.

The durbars which reflect great skills in horsemanship, take place in the savannah regions of northern – Nigeria.

The Kwaghir traditional puppet festival in Benue state is another major source of entertainment.

Of international appeal and significance is the Argungu fishing and cultural festival in Kebbi State. This multi event, week long festival in the town of that name, also includes an exciting Motor Rally that features Mercedes Benz and BMW cars and jeeps.

Masquerade festivals are very colourful. The masquerades are important as they portray the spirits of ancestors. In the east, Mmawu festivals are spectacular. The Eyo festival in Lagos is distinct for the white uniform of all its masquerades.

Masquerade festivals which are common among the Igbo, Efik, Igbirra, Nupe, Itshekiri and Ijaw ethnic groups, are replicated in the cities to the delight of all.

Beauty Pageantry has grown in number and sheer spectacle in the last decade. Combining beauty, intelligence, music, fashion, dance and drama, they have been developed into major forms of entertainment and channels for individual empowerment.

Miss Nigeria, Miss Silver Bird International (affiliated to Miss World and Miss Universe pageants) Miss Tourism, Common Wealth Queen, Campus Queen and several other pageants, entertain millions of television viewers in Nigeria and abroad, while extolling the beauty, integrity, intelligence and resilience of the Nigerian woman.

Fashion shows across the nation combine the pulsating music and vibrant colours of Nigerian textiles such as Adire, Aso Oke, Akwete, Ankara, Okene Cloth, Akwa Ocha, Ishan and Tsamiya, to produce aesthetically delightful and arty clothes and costumes. Exotic fabrics are used in combination as well.

Nigerian born international fashion designers like Jimi Delaja, Frank Osodi a.k.a Bruno Creazoni, who outfitted Miss World, Agbani Darego in her title winning clothes, Tiffany Amber, Rose Of Sharon, Mon Ami, Ade Bakare, Maufechi and Jimi King have dressed some of the most discerning citizens from all walks of life in countries on the major continents.

The Nigerian Fashion Show (NFS) is now an annual show eagerly awaited in European cities after the mega show has been staged in Lagos. For many, it is as significant as the London, Paris or Milan fashion shows.

Circuses are not yet formally organized, even though they have existed for a very long time. They are usually in the form of itinerant bands of people performing on the streets and in market squares with monkeys, hyenas and birds. You also have acrobats, fire eaters, jugglers and magicians making up the merry band.

Night clubs and hangouts, popularly called “joints”, are very popular and bring cities and towns to life in the evenings and at weekends.

They combine live and recorded music and variety shows with audio visual treats. Open air, outdoor spots are also very popular with foreign and Nigerian patrons. They offer culinary delights like pepper soup, nkwobi, asun, isiewu, suya and barbequed/ grilled chicken. Healthy appetites obviously thrive in a vibrant nation.

The delicacies are generously washed down with non - alcoholic and alcoholic beverages most of which are proudly made in Nigeria.

Entertainment also includes events like the annual Lagos Film Festival, the Lagos Dog Show, cake shows and weekly go – kart races on a mini track at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos.

The Eko Library Week is a week long, socio-cultural info – management fair aimed at promoting reading and library development. Entertainment can facilitate learning.

Easter and Christmas carnivals are common. And so are funfairs and bazaars. The ubitiquous, road blocking “owambe”street parties with live bands and boisterous dancers in uniform aso ebi are distinctly Nigerian.

Nigeria’s cultural policy greatly facilitated the development of the rich, colourful, stimulating and vibrant forms of entertainment.

While most events are private sector driven by entrepreneurs, government has sponsored the National Festival of Arts, the National Film Festival and variations at state and local government level.

An increasingly important development in providing entertainment of global appeal and standards is the organization of concerts by multinationals and major local corporations. International artistes like Dionne Warwick, 50 Cent and Usher entertained large audiences in different parts of the country recently.

Some concerts have been variety shows featuring various musicians. Because of the immense popularity of some of the artistes, beaches, stadia and other large venues have been used.

Cinemas are also springing up in the revival of a culture that suffered when video films became popular and home entertainment proved more convenient. Cable television further diminished the appeal of the cinemas.

For children, there are amusement parks. Theme Parks are gradually developing too and Abuja, the federal capital, is trying to set the pace with its Millennium Park. The concept is to promote edu-tainment, an endearing blend of education and entertainment, essential for sustainable youth and national development.

Edutainment is widely practiced and has been picked up by the broadcasting organizations that seem to have adopted it as a guiding principle.

Animal racing and fighting has become popular too. Some people race chickens and others stage chicken or ram fights.

It is important to note that entertainment has often co-opted sports. Some matches and events are now more popular for the sheer spectacle than for any adrenalin pumping competition.

It is this category, sometimes referred to in delicious Nigerian parlance as sportertainment, that covers numerous novelty matches organized by companies, professional associations and schools and which provide great fun and comic relief.

Entertainment is so passionately indulged in, that the more staid sports like polo no longer maintain an exclusive stiff upper lip.

The Lagos Polo Tournament is often better remembered by thousands of fans, for the concert featuring an international R &B or rap artiste, as highlight of the week long festival. Only a few polo lovers actually watch the chukkas played.

The Kaduna and Jos polo tournaments have adopted similar strategies for drawing attention to the sport. Sportertainment is thus poised to be a major Nigerian export.

AGRICULTURE: PLOUGHING A NEW PATH IN AGRIC

Before oil, Nigeria had oil. With oil were the crops groundnut (peanut), cocoa and rubber. These crops were cultivated in large quantities and exported to Europe and America in the pre-1960s and early ‘60s.

With military incursions into Nigerian government and the dependence of petroleum products as the foremost foreign exchange earner, attention to the agricultural sector dwindled. Nigeria’s groundnut pyramids disappeared, the oil palm plantations vanished and farming went back to a subsistent level. With a burgeoning population, it became increasingly difficult to feed the teeming masses and the country resorted to importing food to supplement the one grown at home.

With the military gone and a new democratic structure in place, the country is poised to regain her position in agriculture. The administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo has watered the ground in empowering Nigerian farmers and agro-allied investors to harness the country’s rich resources in producing food and raw materials for industries and export. Funding for agro allied investments have been made easier to get, with extension services provided to farmers at highly subsidized rates to ensure heavy yields at harvest time. Agric banks make loans available to farmers while fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and planting technologies are made available at subsidized rates by the government.

Working in hand with the farmers is the Nigerian Export Promotion Council which helps to find buyers for the food and cash crops from Nigeria.

Land is being provided at reasonable terms for use for large scale farming. Government has encouraged foreign agric investors with remarkable results. For instance farmers from Southern African countries have found home in Nigeria where they have started operations to produce.

The agricultural initiative of the Obasanjo Administration has seen to the restriction of the importation of some types of food and cash crops to encourage local farmers to compete.

The highly fertile Nigerian soil makes it easy to cultivate the following:

Cassava, Yams, Melon, Maize, Millet, Sorghum, Cowpeas, Bananas (plantains included) Palm oil, Groundnuts.

Nigeria’s cash crops include:

Tobacco, Groundnuts, Cocoa beans, Rubber, Gum Arabic, Kola nuts, Beniseed, Cotton, Soybean, Palm kernel, Cashew nuts

Nigerian manufacturers find it convenient to grow their raw materials here. Hence there are cotton farms, orange plantations, tea plantations (on Mambilla Plateau) and coconut groves all sources of raw materials for Nigerian industries.

Opportunities also abound in the cultivation of various species of fish. Fish farming is on the rise in Nigeria with several hundred thousands of tons of fish harvested annually in the country.

The grasslands of the Northern part of the country are ideal for ranching and the rearing of cattle and other livestock. Government

ECONOMY

The following are the functions of the Federal Ministry of Finance:

Preparing annual estimates of revenue and expenditure for the Federal Government:

Formulating policies on fiscal and monetary matters;

Mobilizing domestic and external financial resources through both internal and external financial institutions, for development purposes.

Maintaining adequate foreign exchange reserves aimed at Ensuring a healthy balance of payment position;

Maintaining the internal and external value and stability of the Nigerian currency; Monitoring government revenue from oil and non-oil resources;

Supervising the insurance industry;

Managing revenue allocation matters;

Relating with relevant international organization and Financial institutions, such as the Economic Commission for Africa, World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF). United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP), Commonwealth Economic Committee, European Union/Africa. Caribbean and Pacific, Economic and Social Commission of the OAU, ECOWAS, etc.

Parastatals

Accountant General of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria

Budget Office

Federal Inland Revenue Service

Investment and Security Tribunal

National Insurance Commission

NEXIM

Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission

Nigerian Customs Service

Security and Exchange Commission

Federal Government Allocation

BANKING: CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA

VISION


To be one of the most efficient and effective world's Central Banks in promoting and sustaining economic development.

MISSION STATEMENT


To be proactive in providing a stable framework for the economic development of Nigeria through the effective, efficient and transparent implementation of monetary and exchange rate policy and management of the financial sector.

STATEMENT OF CBN MANDATE


The mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is derived from the Act that sets it up. The initial one was the 1958 Act of Parliament which was severally amended before it was jettisoned and replaced by the CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA Decree No. 24 of 1991 (as amended in 1993, 1997, 1998 and 1999). The decree, (now an Act of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) makes provision for the continuance of the CBN with a Board of Directors consisting of the Governor, four deputy governors and five non- executive directors and charges the Bank with the overall control and administration of the monetary and financial sector policies of the Federal Government, both within and outside Nigeria.

The statutory mandates of the CBN as in the Act are as follows:

1. To issue legal tender currency

2. To maintain external reserves

3. To safeguard the international value of the legal tender currency

4. To promote monetary stability and a sound financial system in Nigeria

5. To act as banker and financial adviser to the Federal Government.

CORE MANDATE OF THE CBN

The core mandates of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) derive from the provisions of the CBN Decree No. 24, 1991 as amended. The mandates are mainly:

· issuance of legal tender currency notes and coins in Nigeria;

· maintenance of Nigeria's external reserve to safeguard the international value of the legal tender currency;

· promotion and maintenance of monetary stability and a sound and
efficient financial system in Nigeria; and

· acting as banker and financial adviser to the Federal Government.

The Bank is also charged with responsibility of supervising and regulating banks and other financial institutions, subject to the BOFID Decree No. 25, 1991, as amended, which aims at ensuring high standards of banking practice and sustaining financial stability. The CBN accomplishes this task through the supervision and surveillance of the financial system and promotion of an efficient clearing and payment system. The surveillance of banks enhances competition, while prudential regulations promote stronger balance sheets and higher quality of bank portfolios.

The execution of CBN's core mandate involves a review of developments in the economy in the preceding year and setting objectives and targets for the current year.

THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY

Petroleum and Gas Reserves

The proven Nigerian oil reserves are 23 Billion barrels; the gas reserves are 160 Trillion cubic meters.

Petroleum and Gas Policy Objectives

The country has put in place Petroleum and Gas policy with the following objectives:

Increasing oil reserve base and productivity through vigorous exploration and ensuring judicious exploitation of the resource.

Allowing for private sector participation in all the facets of the industry through attractive fiscal measures. Government is giving serious consideration to selling its equity shares in joint venture operation.

Acquiring reasonable market shares for the crude oil and its derivatives and achievement of domestic refining self-sufficiency.

Expanding the utilization of natural gas.

Virtually every sector is open to investors in the Oil and Gas Industry. They include:

Up-stream Sector -Down-stream Sector; Gas Development and Conversion; and Marketing of Nigeria crude oil.

The Upstream Sector

Activities under the upstream sector include:

Surveying: Geodetic control establishment; Mapping, tropical and plan metric; and Sea Bottom Survey/Investigation.

Civil Works: Site Surveys; Preparation of drilling locations; Construction of mud pits and slabbing or concreting jobs at rig sites. Supplies of cement, chemicals, sands, gravel, iron rods, labour, road mat, timber, etc.

Seismic Data Acquisition and Interpretation: Analysis and interpretation of data acquired from seismic and geodetic surveys - such data on soil land rock samples.

Geological Activities: Wire line, logging, core analysis, geological and geochemical studies.

Drilling Operations: Drilling and work-over rigs; field transportation and equipment for haulage and rig movements; general and specialized service such as casing running, cementation, welding, diving and catering; and provision of mud and other chemicals.

Crude Oil Transportation & Storage: Construction and maintenance of crude oil storage tanks and pipelines.

Exploration and Production: Investors wishing to participate in this venture are welcome. This involves applying for block(s) for exploration through the oil prospecting license (OPL) and the oil-mining lease (OML). Currently, emphasis is shifting from production sharing contract (PSC) to Service Contract.

Pursuant to the above, the Oil Exploration License (OEL) confers on the licensee, renewable on expiration.

The Down-Stream Sector

Refining

Investors can set up and wholly own a refinery;

Companies with the technological know-how can undertake turn-around maintenance of refineries;

There is tremendous scope for small-scale joint venture manufacture of spare parts, chemicals with technical foreign partners;

Also opportunities exist in the manufacture of other special products such as:

(a) industrial and food grade solvents;
(b) insecticides
(c) cosmetics
(d) mineral oil, petroleum jelly greases;
(e) bituminous-based water/damp proof building materials such as floor tiles,
(f) exports of refined products surplus;

Petrochemicals

A three-phased petrochemical development plan is in place. The first phase is already in place producing:

Linear alkyl – benzene, carbon black and polypropylene;

Carbon black, used for manufacture of tyres, rubber products, pigments, printing inks, polish, etc;

Linear alkyl – benzene, used as an active agent in the production of detergents and shampoos;

Polypropylene, used as a raw material in the manufacture of injection moulding, fibres extrusion, shipping sacks, prayer mats, carpet underlay and cloth wrap;

The second phase, an olefin based complex has been commissioned; and

Investors can engage in products fabrication.

Gas Development and Conversion

Government has opened the sector to foreign investment and is willing to consider appropriate tailor – made incentives for projects in this sector. Opportunities which abound in this sector for investors include:-

Natural Gas Pipeline Network

Plans are a foot to build and extend gas pipeline in view of the importance of gas. Investors wishing to set up energy intensive industries such as cement factories, iron smelting and foundries will have a significant cost saving if gas is used as fuel.

In furtherance of the spirit of the treaty of ECOWAS (the Economic community of West African States) which seeks to encourage co – operation between member states for the overall improvement of their economies, Nigeria embraced the West African Gas pipeline concept conceived by the World Bank as a means of meeting the energy requirement of Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic by supplying them with natural gas from Nigeria on purely commercial terms.

The Liquefied Natural Gas Project (LNG)

The Nigerian LNG project is being implemented in phases with an initial production from two trains. The plant is situated at Bonny Island. NLNG has successfully secured market for its moderate production volume from its base project and train three.

NEW GAS SYSTEMS

There is more Gas than Oil, in Nigeria. While the country's oil reserve could last for about 31 years that of gas could be depleted in about 72 years, according to recent authoritative report.

In spite of this abundance, local gas utilization is constrained by limited transmission systems and even lack of same in some parts of the country. This hinders greatly, the transmission, distribution and marketing of the product in many parts of the nation.

Currently, there is a proposal by the Nigerian government to construct additional four transmissions systems including Ajaokuta – Abuja - Kaduna, and Aba – Enugu - Gboko at the estimated cost of $2 billion.
SOLID MINERALS

Nigeria is richly endowed with a variety of solid minerals ranging from precious metals various stones to industrial minerals such as barytes , gypsum, kaolin and marble. Most of these are yet to be exploited. Statistically, the level of exploitation of these minerals is very low in relation to the extent of deposits found in the country. One of the objectives of the new National Policy on Solid Minerals is to ensure the orderly development of the mineral resources of the country.

There are tremendous opportunities for investments in the solid mineral sector of the Nigerian economy. Prospecting licenses for investors (both local and foreign) to participate in the exploitation of the vast mineral resources in Nigeria is granted by the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development.

PROFILE OF SOLID MINERAL DEPOSITS IN NIGERIA

Talc

Over 40 million tonnes deposits of talc have been identified in Niger , Osun, Kogi, Ogun and Kaduna states. The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC)'s 3,000 tonnes per annum catalytic Talc plant in Niger state is the only talc plant in the country. The talc industry represents one of the most versatile sectors of the industrial minerals of the world. The exploitation of the vast deposits would therefore satisfy local demand and that for export.

Gypsum

Gypsum is an important input for the production of cement. It is also used for the production of Plaster of Paris (P.O.P) and classroom chalks. A strategy for large-scale mining of gypsum is urgently required to sustain the existing plants and meet the future expansion. Currently, cement production is put at 8 million tonnes per annum while the national requirement is 9.6 million tonnes. About one billion tonnes of gypsum deposits are spread over many states in Nigeria.

Iron Ore

There are over 3 billion metric tonnes of iron ore in deposits found in Kogi, Enugu and Niger States as well as the Federal Capital Territory . Iron Ore is being mined at Itakpe in Kogi State and is already being beneficiated, up to 67 per cent of iron. The Aladja and Ajaokuta Steel complexes are ready for consumer of billets and other iron products for down-stream industries.

Lead/Zinc

An estimated 10 million tonnes of lead/zinc veins are spread over eight states of Nigeria . Proven reserves in three prospects in the east-central area are 5 million tonnes. Joint venture partners are encouraged to develop and exploit the various lead/zinc deposits all over the country.

Bentonite and Baryte

These are the main constituents of the mud used in the drilling of all types of oil wells. The Nigerian baryte has specific gravity of about 4.3. Over 7.5 million tonnes of baryte have been identified in Taraba and Bauchi States. Large bentonite reserves of 700 million tonnes are available in many states of the federation ready for massive development and exploitation.

Gold

There are proven reserves of both alluvial and primary gold in the schist belt of Nigeria located in the south-western part of the country. The deposits are mainly alluvial and are currently being exploited on a small scale. Private investors are invited to stake concessions on thesahe primary deposits.

Bitumen

The occurrence of bitumen deposits in Nigeria is indicated at about 42 billion tonnes; almost twice the amount of existing reserves of crude petroleum. Analytical results suggest that this potential resource can be used directly as an asphalt binder. Most bitumen used for road construction in Nigeria is currently imported.

Coal

Nigerian coal is one of the most bituminous in the world owing to its low sulphur and ash content and therefore the most environment-friendly. There are nearly 3 billion tonnes of indicated reserves in 17 identified coal fields and over 600 million tonnes of proven reserves.

Rock Salt

The national annual demand for table salt, caustic soda, chlorine, sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide exceeds one million tonnes. A colossal amount of money is expended annually to import these chemicals by chemical and processing companies including tanneries and those in food and beverages, paper and pulp, bottling and oil sector. There are salt springs at Awe ( Plateau State ), Abakaliki and Uburu ( Ebonyi State ), while rock salt is available in Benue State . A total reserve of 1.5 million tonnes has been indicated, and further investigations are now being carried out by Government.

Gemstones

Gemstones mining has boomed in various parts of Plateau, Kaduna and Bauchi states for years. Some of these gemstones include sapphire, ruby, aquamarine, emerald, tourmaline, topaz, garnet, amethyst; zircon, and flourspar which are among the world's best. Good prospects exist in this area for viable investments.

Kaolin

An estimated reserve of 3 billion tonnes of good kaolinitic clay has been identified in many localities in Nigeria .