22 June 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal government has commenced the review of 1964 Explosives Act to curb illegal usage of the device in the country.
Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olayinka Oyebode, who revealed this in an interview with journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, said the ministry, in collaboration with the National Security Adviser’s office (NSA) conducted a holistic review of the act to address illegal diversion of explosives by some companies to criminal minded people.
He said that the ministry has sent the draft copy to the Ministry of Justice for further review.
He said the draft would be taking to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for further review and endorsement as soon as the ministry of Justice releases it; adding that it would also be sent to the National Assembly for approval.
He added that the 1964 act was prepared to meet the situations as at then, adding that the penalties and fines in the act were too soft compare to the gravity of offences being committed by explosive users nowadays.
August 2016, the NSA said seven suspects were arrested for allegedly supplying high-calibre explosives and detonators to militants wreaking havoc on key pipelines and facilities.
The explosives were diverted from an explosives-distribution company in the Niger delta to the rebels.
A detailed audit of the records of explosives magazines and quarries in that region was conducted, which revealed the diversion of about 9,000 kilograms of high explosives and 16,420 pieces of detonators for illegal use.
Last year, the ministry introduced an initiative to effectively regulate the transport and use of mining explosives in order to checkmate the actions of unscrupulous individuals in the solid minerals sector, who are fuelling insecurity in the country.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in a statement said this became necessary following the recent clampdown of an importer and seller of explosives in Koko, Delta State.
According to him, these measures would serve to strengthen the institutional capacity of the ministry to cooperate with the security agencies in ensuring the security of lives and property in the country, and as well as safety of the environment.
Fayemi said the ministry will not leave any stone unturned in its bid to reposition the sector for effective service delivery, and to actualise the economic diversification and job creation goals of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He said, “In the pursuit of our mandate to deepen the productivity of the mining industry, we will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to guarantee that the security of lives and property, as well as safety of the environment is not compromised.”