Federal government has moved to secure the nation’s natural resources following as the presidential inter-ministerial committee held an expanded meeting with service and security chiefs yesterday in Abuja.
Part of the plan is the setting up a security arrangement for the protection of the nation’s solid minerals, forests and marine resources from being plundered by criminal elements. The security agencies were mandated to come up with a workable strategy to this end.
This was the outcome of an inter-ministerial committee meeting chaired by the minister of solid minerals development, Dr. Dele Alake, and had in attendance the security chiefs and the ministers of environment, interior, minister of state for police affairs and a representative of the national security adviser (ONSA) yesterday at the ministry’s conference room in Abuja yesterday.
Dr. Alake told newsmen that the committee’s meeting with service chiefs was a follow-up on the earlier one to get inputs for developing an action plan to effectively secure Nigeria’s natural resources, in line with the presidential mandate.
LEADERSHIP reports that President Bola Tinubu had at last week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) established an inter-ministerial committee to draw up actionable plans for securing the country’s natural resources. The committee held its maiden meeting last Friday.
He called for collaboration between security agencies, local communities, and relevant stakeholders in curbing illegal activities and ensuring the safety of mining operations.
“Today, we have deliberated exhaustively. We have covered all the issues, all the grounds. Certain decisions have been made, and there is going to be another follow-up meeting because the security agencies are going to give us the framework of execution of our mandate. That has been the crux of today’s deliberations. The security agencies, the service chiefs, NSA’s office, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) are going to form a smaller committee to give us the work plan, execution modalities and we will be meeting in another fortnight,” the minister said.
“After extensive deliberation, we have agreed that the security agencies, as experts in this field, will develop a comprehensive plan to secure our natural resources in mineral sites, forests, and the marine economy. I am pleased to say that everyone in attendance agrees with this strategy.
“We have planned to reconvene in two weeks’ time to review the security agencies’ proposed plan, which will include the formation of any necessary outfits or units. This meeting will provide an opportunity for further discussion and ensure that our actions are aligned for the best possible outcome.”
Answering journalists’ questions on the Ibadan explosion in which illegal foreign miners were fingered, he said the government, as he had earlier stated, was taking its time to do a thorough investigation before coming out with its findings and action plan.
Alake said: “I would like to take this opportunity to inform you about the current situation in Ibadan, although we are still awaiting the final forensic analysis report from the various security and intelligence agencies.
“We have gathered technical experts, including officials from the Mines Inspectorate of the Ministry of Solid Minerals, to thoroughly investigate the incident. Numerous fragments, documents, and other pieces of evidence were collected from the site, which need to be scientifically analyzed before an authentic report can be released.
“In light of the gravity of this situation, we have expanded our efforts by including critical security agencies in our discussions. Their presence here today represents the collective expertise required to address this issue effectively.”
Ministers present at the meeting were Balarabe Abass Lawal (environment), Gboyega Oyetola (marine and blue economy), Abubakar Badaru (defence), Tunji Olubunmi-Ojo (interior) and Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim (police affairs, state).
Security agencies were represented by Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun; Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr. Ahmed Audi; representatives of Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Naval staff, Air-Vice Marshall Abdulkadir Abubakar and Rear Admiral I. Abbas, respectively, among others.