President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his administration is capable and determined to halt all forms of criminality being perpetrated by bandits, kidnappers, insurgents and other criminal elements that have been threatening the corporate existence of the country.
He gave the assurance on when he declared open the 56th annual international conference and exhibitions organised by the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), at the International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday.
Represented by Minister of State for Mining and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, Buhari said said the country is “currently battling various forms of security challenges and working relentlessly in providing innovative solutions to the myriads of challenges that are confronting the citizens. A few of our people had resorted to breaking the law and outright criminality by engaging in banditry and all sorts of illegal activities.
“These nefarious activities have serious implications for the various reform agenda this administration has embarked upon in the mineral, energy and agricultural sectors. It is difficult to achieve any meaningful development in any environment plagued with security challenges.
“The reality of this truth is most obvious in the minerals sector given the fact that mining activities take place in remote localities. Our intelligence gathering efforts has confirmed that most of these criminal elements have infiltrated the mining industry and are using it as means of funding their despicable activities. It is with this understanding that we recently took the painful but necessary decision of banning all forms of mining activities in Zamfara State, where armed banditry has persisted.
“It is also to this end that I directed the Ministers of Mines and Steel Development to strengthen collaboration with state governments and relevant security agencies to ensure security and safety of all mining areas. In so doing, we can achieve sustainable development of the minerals sector for the peace and security of our great country and good people.
“It is in furtherance of our commitment and resolve to address the security challenges that I recently charged the newly decorated Service Chiefs that they have just few weeks to crush all forms of criminality in the country. We cannot yield the sovereignty of our nation to a bunch of individuals who have refused to see reasons to abandon their criminality.
“The security chiefs have been mandated to forcefully bring this criminality to an immediate end. Let me reiterate that the government is more than capable and more than ever determined to halt all forms of criminality perpetuated by these individuals.”
Buhari, however, noted that the current reform being implemented in the oil and gas sector under his watch as Minister of Petroleum Resources have received generous inputs and participations of members of NMGS that are either working in government agencies or private companies. He added that the domestic gas utilisation policy being implemented is one of the derivable benefits of engagements of the Nigerian professionals from all backgrounds, especially those in the geosciences and mining sector.
Governor Seyi Makinde, in his Goodwill message, however, advocated delisting of mineral resources in the state from the Exclusive List, so that the state could take charge of them. He added that the Federal Government earlier did the same for Zamfara State and such gesture should be extended to the state.
Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, who presented a keynote address, entitled: ‘Expanding the Frontiers of Exploration, Creating New Opportunities for Growth’ said the corporation and its partners in the Nigerian oil and gas industry space were working to pull down production cost to $10 per barrel. He noted that the feat could not be achieved without the total support of geoscientists and other professionals.