By Dipo Olowookere
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Kayode Fayemi, has disclosed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the purchase of 38 patrol vehicles for Mines Inspectorates across the country.
Briefing newsmen on Wednesday of outcome of the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, the Minister said the total amount earmarked for the vehicles is N327 million.
He said the patrol vehicles are for the mines and steel inspectorate division aimed at checking illegal mining activities in the country.
Mr Kayode explained that each of the 36 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will get one of the Nissan four-wheel drive patrol vehicle, while additional one will be given to Lagos State because of its size.
“FEC approves the direct procurement of Nissan four-wheel Patrol vehicles for Mines Inspectorate division of mines and steel in the 36 states and the FCT.
“For a decade no vehicle has been purchased for the mines and steel Inspectorate division to oversee what’s going on in our various states in artisinal and informal mining situations, surveillance of illegal mining activities taking place and the various challenges we face on the field.
“You may have read for example even though it is not directly linked to the mining operation, what happened in Zamfara yesterday and the number of people that were killed.
“I mean miners that were killed by bandits operating in that area. Therefore as part of our road map, a surveillance task force has also been established with the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defence, EFCC, Police and the Civil Defence.”