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President raises alarm over illegal mining

According to him, N500 billion has been appropriated in the 2016 budget for social intervention programmes in five key areas.

Muhammadu Buhari

Speaking in a broadcast in Abuja, the president said that the security team was saddled with the task of protecting the nation’s mining assets.

He also revealed special measures would be in place to protect miners in their work environment.

According to him, the Ministry of Solid Mineral Resources has produced a roadmap where Nigeria would work closely with the World Bank and major international investors to ensure best practices and due diligence in the mining sector.

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``With respect to solid minerals, the minister has produced a roadmap where we will work closely with the world bank and major international investors to ensure, through best practices and due diligence, that we choose the right partners.

``Illegal mining remains a problem and we have set up a special security team to protect our assets.

``Special measures will be in place to protect miners in their work environment,’’ he added.

President Buhari, who announced the official inauguration of his administration’s Social Protection Programme, lamented that Nigerian society had been neglecting the poor and victimising the weak.

``For too long, ours has been a society that neglects the poor and victimises the weak.

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``A society that promotes profit and growth over development and freedom.

``A society that fails to recognize that, to quote the distinguished economist Amartya Sen “ poverty is not just lack of money. It is having the capability to realize one’s full potential as a human being.”

``So, today, I am happy to formally launch, by far the most ambitious social protection programme in our history.’’

He, therefore, expressed optimism that the programme would lift million of Nigerians out of poverty while at the same time creating the opportunity for people to fend for themselves.

He said that his administration was committed to providing job creation opportunities for 500,000 Nigerians to work as teachers and employ 100,000 artisans across the nation.

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He further said 5.5 million children would be provided with nutritious meals through the school feeding programme to improve learning outcomes, as well as enrolment and completion rates.

The president added that the conditional cash transfer scheme would provide financial support for up to one million vulnerable beneficiaries, and complement the enterprise programme.

He said this particular programme would target up to one million market women, 460,000 artisans and 200,000 agricultural workers, nationwide.

President Buhari further disclosed that, through a education grant scheme, the federal government would encourage students studying sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as lay a foundation for human capital development for the next generation.

On Security, the president commended members of the Armed Forces for their efforts in checking the menace of Boko Haram insurgency in the North Eastern states of the country.

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``I would like to pay a special tribute to our gallant men and women of the armed forces who are in harm’s way so that the rest of us can live and go about our business in safety.

``Their work is almost done. The nation owes them a debt of gratitude.’

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