By Lawrence Olaoye
The federal government has approved the establishment of a special task force to clamp down on all illegal miners across the country.
This is just as it claimed that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has created 69,736 jobs with the implementation of 2016 and 2017 budgets.
Briefing newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, Minister Steel and Mines Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said: “The other area in which we have implemented approval from Council was in terms of illegal mining challenges in the country.”
He revealed that the council had approved vehicles procured from the ministry for federal mines officers in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and for the establishment of a task force comprising of the police, the Civil Defence, the DSS, EFCC and the military.
“It will help us with tackling the challenges associated with illegal mining and that is beginning to yield significant dividends. It helps us to move across the country.
“In Taraba we have cause to clear illegal mining operations in the precious menthols and gemstones zone of Saudana local government, to Zurak in Plateau where we have to confront Chinese illegal operators colluding with Nigerians exploiting the lead, zinc resources in that area to the gold belt is Zamfara, Kebbi and Ilesha in Osun State.”
The minister said the Council approved ten policy and projects related initiatives, disclosing that they were around the road map for the sector.
“These, according to him, included approval for the establishment of the Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development and the new bill on the Nigeria’s Mining and Minerals Commission.”
He added that the Council also approved the Access to Natural Resource Development Fund (ANRDF) which has enabled the ministry to acquire data for its aero magnetic and electro magnetic survey of the country.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing–Babatunde Fashola, also told newsmen that he had succeeded in getting about 66 approvals for his ministry since he came on board.
According to him, these approvals covered roads, power and housing projects particularly Federal Secretariats. “Some of the topical ones were the progress of works on the Katsina Wind Mill, the Kaduna 216mw power plant, the Afam 240mw plant, and of course the Mambilla 3,060mw hydro power plant, and the project to evacuate the Ajura 459mw power plant.
“It also covers federal secretariat in states like Gombe, Zamfara, Bayelsa, Ekiti and of course the Zik Mausoleum in Anambra. And we reported about the state of the Pilot housing projects that is also going on in 33 states.
“Our report also dealt with the short, medium and long term impact of these approvals vis a vis the budget implementation for 2016 and 2017, and our report showed that the implementation of these projects had led to 69,736 jobs. And most of these are jobs largely that were lost in the construction industry before the advent of this administration.”