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No country grows without good power sector - Minister to go tough on vandals

The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to adequately protect Nigeria’s power infrastructures against vandals.

Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo

Minister of Interior Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo said this on Friday in Abuja at the inauguration of the second batch of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Mining Marshals.

Tunji-Ojo said the ministry would collaborate with the Ministry of Power to stop power transmission and generation points vandalisation.

“It is not acceptable for millions of dollars to be spent on power and then we have them vandalised as no country grows without a good power sector.

“We will take this sector by sector and get to the agricultural sector which will ensure food security.”

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The minister said he would ensure that the “Renewed Hope Agenda” of President Bola Tinubu to ensure the protection of critical infrastructure in all sectors is realised.

“We have seen the result of the first batch as the revenue in the mining sector has improved. However, there is a need to train more to ensure all mining critical infrastructures are properly secured.

“In the solid minerals sector, we are winning the battle, although we have not won yet, we are winning gradually because there is nothing inappropriate in Nigeria that cannot be made right by Nigerians.

“I challenge you as a corps to keep to your word to protect every asset of government and defend Nigeria and hand over to generations after you,” Tunji-Ojo said.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, said that the operations of illegal miners had displaced legitimate miners.

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Alake, represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr Mary Ogbe, said that the integration of the Federal Mines Officers and the Marshals across states would sanitise the sector.

No one could have imagined the plight of licence owners who can neither engage in the exploration or mining of the cadastral units of their licences because bandits had defied the law by occupying such places illegally.

“Since the inauguration of the mining marshals, we have provided relief by deploying the squad to successfully recover such places and enable the owners to resume legitimate businesses.

“The illegal haulage of minerals has come under scrutiny as arrests are made daily and the culprits face prosecution in the courts of law,” Ogbe said.

NSCDC Commandant-General Ahmed Audi said that the newly inaugurated 350 mining marshals would swing into action immediately having undergone eight weeks of intensive training.

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“You are expected to imbibe the spirit of patriotism, and absolute loyalty and to eschew unethical conduct capable of dragging the corps in the mud as anyone found culpable will be appropriately sanctioned.

“It is no longer news that the nation’s security, especially in the mining sector, is being threatened by the nefarious activities of illegal miners, bandits, kidnappers, terrorists among others.

“Illegal mining operations have not only led to shortchanging the government but also led to loss of revenue, environmental pollution, degradation and health hazards,” he said.

Audi said that safe legal mining operations would attract and encourage genuine local and foreign investors to engage in mining activities in Nigeria.

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