President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja warned that the Federal Government will no longer tolerate illegal mining and other improper activities that have inhibited the growth of Nigeria’s solid minerals sector.
President Buhari issued the warning after receiving a briefing from top officials of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development led by the Permanent Secretary, Baba Umar Farouk.
The President, who noted that the mines and steel sector was very important for the diversification of the economy, expressed displeasure at Mr. Farouk’s report that the sector had been overrun by illegal miners.
“This is one of the most demoralizing briefs I have received. The biggest threat to this country besides the Boko Haram is unemployment and the mining sector is key to employment creation.
“We cannot be held back on such a strategic industry that can give us much needed jobs and promote economic growth.
“There must be more seriousness in running this country and we are determined to instill that seriousness,’’ the President said.
The Permanent Secretary told the President that Nigeria’s mining sector has been infiltrated by “illegal aliens” who carry out unlawful mining activities in the country.
Also Tuesday in Abuja, President Buhari directed the Ministry of Environment to undertake a rigorous study of Lake Chad, with a view to bringing up proposals on how best to reverse the shrinking of the lake, which currently serves as a major source of livelihood for many.
Speaking after receiving a briefing on the challenges facing the Ministry of Environment, President Buhari noted that the security and economic challenges faced by member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission could be substantially ameliorated with an improvement in the economic value of the lake.
The President also urged the Ministry of Environment to take up the challenge of researching cheaper ways of sourcing energy for cooking apart from firewood.
The Permanent Secretary, Nana Fatima Mede told President Buhari that Lake Chad has shrunk considerably from the 1960s, when it covered an area of more than 26,000 square kilometers, to less than one-tenth of that size at present.
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)