16 November 2015, Abuja – The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has promised that the President Muhammadu Buhari government will muster legal and political will to fight illegal miners in the country.
The ex-governor said the Buhari-led government won’t give the illegal operators any breathing space to prevent efforts being made to diversify the country’s economy from being sabotaged by economic marauders, in view of the dwindling revenues from oil sector.
Speaking in Isan Ekiti, the minister said the country has a good prospect in solid mineral sector, having 44 key minerals in about 350 spots across the 36 States of the federation.
The minister said the poor management of the sector in the last 55 years of Nigeria’s Independence brought about its low contributions to the economy.
The ex-governor pointed out that the Mining and Mineral Law 2007 initiated by former minister, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, while superintending over the ministry vividly stipulated guidelines for the operators in the sector, assuring that the law will be strategically implemented to curtail illegality.
Fayemi disclosed that the solid minerals contributes 0.06 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP), stating that as much as he is not making a projection, that Buhari’s government is desirous of raising the benchmark to 5 -10 per cent before 2019.
“President Buhari came into government with strong integrity. And we won’t allow the integrity quotient to reduce, so whoever perpetrating or illegality in the sector must start packing his load .
“We are ready to tackle the cartels in the sector and those who think they can continue will face the maximum wrath of the law.
“If you glean through what President Buhari said when he came into power, every comment is punctuated with preference for solid minerals and agriculture as areas of interest in his efforts to diversify the economy. So Mr. President has put me in his area of interest and I thank him for reposing confidence in me.”
Expressing that the ministry is endowed with experts that could help him in achieving the task, Fayemi said: “The Ministry is blessed with experts in Geophysics, Mineral Resources Management, Geology, Metallurgical and material Engineering, Mineral Engineering and other cognate fields.
“Though, I may not be an expert in Mineral resources management, but having superintended over every sector as a governor, I think I have the experience. The task is not even about expertise, but service. I should be able to work with these experts to bring about the needed change in the sector.”
“Nigeria used to be centre of excellence in solid minerals, particularly in tin and coal since 1903, that was before the first World War. When petrol came, we abandon the production of these two minerals, but we have come to realise our mistake.
“We have coal in Enugu, diamond in Nasarawa, tin and columbite in Plateau and many other States. There is no state without a mineral. So we have a lot of potentials to tap and this we shall achieve,” Fayemi vowed.
- This Day