The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, has challenged security agencies in the country to come up with technology that could be deployed to track the use of explosives for which permits were given in the country.
The minister who disclosed that part of his tasks as minister in charge of solid minerals development is to sign explosives permits for use in quarries and mining sites, said it is important to also track their use as part of efforts to curtail activities of insurgent groups and violent crimes in the country.
Mr. Fayemi who spoke as a guest lecturer at the National Defence College, Abuja on Friday, said there should be a technological approach to tracking the use of explosives by those who sought and obtained permit for its use so that it does not end up in the hands of those who would use it for criminal purposes.
The Minister also assured the gathering that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is committed to ensuring that the Ajaokuta Steel company works, in order to boost the country’s technological development.
“This will also help us in the areas of arms and ammunitions. And the defence industry will also benefit from this when we get it right”, he added.
The Minister who spoke on “Solid Minerals and National Development in Nigeria”, lamented that the country was losing a lot to illegal mining activities, being carried out by some citizens aided by some foreigners.
He said the ministry was collaborating with relevant security agencies to ensure that the ugly trend is stopped.
Specifically, he pointed out that about 100 kilogramme of gold leaves the country everyday without any record, adding that there is need to deploy technology, build capacity of staff of the ministry and get the required assistance from the security agencies to check the situation.
He disclosed that part of the efforts of the ministry is to also educate security agents on how to identify these minerals.
“Many of them do not recognise these minerals. So, in most cases they do not know the value of what the person is taking out illegally.
“so we are partnering with security agencies, the customs, immigration, police, civil defence, to assist us.
“Once we get the regulatory frame work right and create a conducive environment for investment to thrive, we shall witness huge investment in the sector, create wealth and employment opportunities,” he added.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral S.I. Alade, said that the military was doing a lot to assist the ministry to curtail illegal mining.
He hailed the minister’s enforcement of the “use it or lose it” clause in the mining Act, saying the country needs to make the best of the solid minerals sector now that the oil and gas sector is facing a challenge.
In attendance at the lecture were representatives of the service chiefs, permanent secretary of the ministry of defence and participants of Course 24 of the Defence College, among others.