The Nigerian government has approved the sum of N987 million for the purchase of fifty patrol vehicles by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, to enhance surveillance on illegal mining activities across the country.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi disclosed this while briefing Journalists at the end of this week’s meeting of the Federal Executive Council, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister said the activities of illegal miners must be curtailed in order to further consolidate on the gains already made in the mines sector, which is presently contributing a lot to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.
Dr Fayemi said: “You will recall that in the roadmap that the Federal executive Council approved last year, there is a provision for the establishment of a Special Mines Surveillance Task Force. The memo we presented to Council today request for an approval for the procurement of 50 Hilux vehicles for the special mines surveillance patrol to capacitate them in their work to monitor and curb illegal mining activities in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja and approval was given for the sum of N987 million for the purchase of the vehicles at a unit price of N19.3 million per vehicle.”
The Minister noted that because a vehicle will not be enough to do the job in each state, technology will also be deployed to assist the Task Force, in order to achieve the desired result.
“The Council also underscores the fact that only one vehicle per state cannot solve all the problems but in order to begin to tackle the issues we need to start from somewhere and ultimately the goal is to ensure that we deploy technology to monitor the illegal activities of miners across the length and breadth of the country,” he said.
Dr Fayemi announced that in order to further enhance the job of the Special Mines Surveillance Task Force, which comprises of representatives of all the security agencies, a Police Commissioner has already been appointed to be in charge of the mines unit.
“Over the course of the last one year, the Police has re-established Mines Police and we now have a Police Commissioner in charge of the mines unit. We also have a Commandant from the National Security and Civil Defence Corps also exclusively deployed for mines activities because if we can stop the spate of illegal mining activities; not just by Nigerians but Nigerians in collaboration with some foreigners we would significantly improve the revenue that comes from that sector, increase the contribution to GDP, increase the royalty to government and also provide more jobs for our people,” he stated.