Development of Nigeria’s mining sector critical for national economic growth – MCO Director General


Obadiah Simon Nkom is the Director General of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office. In this interview with FRANCIS KADIRI, he stated that the mineral licensing agency has recorded 100% user-compliance with the world class mining system while a 40% increase has been scored in the number of applications received. Excerpts:

Uba Group

The Policy Advisory Council of the President Bola Tinubu administration has promised to lift one million people out of poverty within the next eight years and create an enabling environment to generate over 50 million jobs. How would the MCO key into the realization of these set goals?

There are two broad perspectives to look at, and the perspectives are in line with the mandate of the MCO.

The first one is the overall economic development of Nigeria. In this regard, policy and strong will are the key ingredients. The second one is the development of the Nigerian mining sector as a critical sector for national economic growth.

The MCO has a role to play. MCO aims to particularly open lawful investment gateways to local and foreign investors by issuing mineral licenses and permits in line with the law. While doing so, the Agency generates revenue for the government. This is the mandate of the MCO, and we will continue to create jobs and develop the economy. So the target of the MCO is to develop the sector and the nation, and we have been able to make progress.

From inception, the aim of the MCO is to ensure continuous growth and development of the MCO so that it can serve the sector a lot better. A new government has come on board with new policies that aim to improve the country.

The MCO is statutorily responsible for administration of mining titles in the country. We are conscious of the new administration, the goals it has set and its drive for success and we will up the game and key into the new goals in the interest of developing the mining sector and the overall development of the country.

Even up till now, the MCO has always had a well-defined roadmap for improvement of service delivery. We continued to implement strategies that improved the administration of mineral titles and revenue generation.

As an agency with a well-defined mandate, the MCO has been setting and achieving developmental goals irrespective of change of government.

“We are conscious of the new administration, the goals it has set and its drive for success and we will up the game and key into the new goals in the interest of developing the mining sector and the overall development of the country

Kindly highlight some of the recent goals scored in this regard

Recently, the MCO achieved the set goal of joining world class mining cadastre administration. This we did by migrating our services to online real time mineral title administration as it is the practice in developed economies of the world.

This feat is already boosting the Nigerian economy. It continues to strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian mining sector to present its opportunities for business to global investors. Otherwise known as Electronic Mining Cadastre (eMC+), the migration to online mineral title administration is leading to significant increase in revenue generation.

So, the MCO is already aligned to national development through jobs creation and revenue generation, and as I have said, we will strengthen our ability to consolidate on the realization of set goals while keying into new ones.

What is the response of prospective investors to the new system of mineral title administration, i.e the eMC+?

The eMC+ is strategically designed as a user-friendly system that encourages investors to apply for mining titles and receive them online without having to physically visit the Office of the MCO. The eMC+ is an online system. All applications are online. MCO has stopped receiving applications across the counter.

All an investor needs is an internet ready computer. If you have this, we are waiting for you via our portal. We are permanently available to respond to applications for mineral titles and any other enquiry an investor may wish to make online.

So, the EMC+ is 100% online, and it has proved to be a huge progress from the manual system where applications are submitted across the counter, and where applicants had to travel or fly to Abuja to summit applications for mineral titles.

What is the level of investor-compliance with eMC+?


Prospective investors who apply online for mining titles are 100% compliant because everything they need is available via the portal.

What percentage of applicants are adapting to the new system?

The eMC+ was launched in November 2022 and the portal became open on that day. What this means is that the MCO started receiving applications for mineral titles via the online portal on that day. Now, we have a 40% increase in the number of people who used to apply for mineral titles.

The remaining 60% are the applicants who simply need guidance to upload their information to the system. This is usually the case with virtually every computer system where some users need simple guidance to follow the user-friendly system.

We are already working to ensure that users become more conversant with the system so that users can be 100% adapted to the eMC+ system. At this stage, applicants would no longer need our guidance.

Currently, we are familiarizing users with the system and they are getting along, and it’s an interesting progress. We have carried out public enlightenment activities that aim to sensitize the public about the ease of applying for mineral titles via the electronic mining castrate system of the MCO.

Has the MCO been able to achieve nationwide sensitization?

Yes. The MCO has six Zonal Offices, one in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

At the MCO, public enlightenment is a shared responsibility. The Zonal Offices are playing very vital roles and we are getting good feedback. I have said that MCO has been able to achieve a 40% increase in the number of applicants who are able to use the online system without guidance.

Although public sensitization is capital intensive and we don’t quite have the funds, we are doing our best and we are succeeding.

How did the public receive the news of your migration to online cadastre administration?

Let me tell you this, investors are very interested in the change because it assures them of the commitment of the government to create a friendly environment for mining businesses to thrive. The new system also enables them to do a lot of things for themselves. In the past, we had so many visitors trooping to the MCO for one information or the other, but that has changed now.

A registered corporate entity can login to the system and view its status. The entity can also view its mineral titles and also access the status of a cadastral area without having to come to the MCO to make inquiries.

The electronic mining cadastre system showcases the transparency of cadastre administration. It is a highly welcomed system. The government and operators and all other stakeholders are happy about it.

What are the challenges and how have they limited your projections?

Yes, we have challenges, but we do not let our challenges impose a limitation on us. So, we continued to make breakthroughs despite the challenges of funding and other challenges. Every year, we generate more revenue than that of the previous year.

We have been able to migrate to a real time mining cadastre system despite challenges.

We were also able to drive use of our online portal and emerge the best public sector agency in digitization services and innovation among Federal Government Agencies in Year 2022.