… As Minister Says FG accelerating mining sector development to boost economy, create jobs***
The Defence Headquarters say troops of Operation Delta Safe have deactivated 51 illegal refineries in the last two weeks.
It said the refineries had a total of 76 ovens, 52 cooking pots/boilers, 22 cooling systems, 102 reservoirs, 16 large dugout pits and 513 storage tanks.
The Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, made this known while giving update on the military operations across the country on Thursday in Abuja.
Onyeuko said the deactivated sites which also had drums and sacks laden with illegally refined oil, were discovered in Rivers, Abia, Cross Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Imo States.
He said that a total of 23 criminal elements were arrested and 73 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, five cartridges, two AK-47 rifles, and one double-barrel gun were recovered in the course of the operations.
Onyeuko also said that one pump action gun and three locally-made pistols among other items were recovered.
According to him, a total of 317,450 litres of illegally refined AGO, 8,000 litres of DPK and 159,000 litres of stolen crude have been recovered in the course of the operations.
“These were in addition to several other vehicles and boats loaded with sacks/polythene bags and jerry cans of illegally refined oil products and equipment used for illegal oil production as well as illicit drugs impounded by troops within the period.
“Troops of Operation Delta Safe have sustained operations to forestall the activities of economic saboteurs and other criminal elements in the South-South Zone.
“However, the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies will not relent nor rest on its oars in the fight against criminalities in all parts of the country.
“The Military High Command commends the continued sacrifices of its troops and salutes their courage and resilience toward achieving sustainable peace in the country,” he said.
In the meantime, the Federal Government says it is accelerating development of the mining sector to boost the country’s economy as well as creating jobs.
Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development said this on Thursday at the opening of the 20th Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Society of Mining Engineers (NSME).
The meeting with the theme “Repositioning the Nigerian Mining Sector for Accelerated National Development” is holding in Gombe state.
Represented by Mr Obadiah Nkom, the Director-General of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre, Adegbite said the mining sector had remained largely underdeveloped in spite of the diversity of minerals resources in commercial quantities across the states.
According to him, this necessitated President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s efforts in developing the sector for the common good of all Nigerians.
He stated that the Federal Government was working to reposition the sector as a way of diversifying the nation’s economy from oil to ensure all inclusive growth and sustainable growth and development.
“Our goal is to grow the capacity of the mining industry to serve as reliable alternative revenue source for national development.
“This is now more compelling, given the volatility of the oil revenues as this informed government’s decision to designate Mining and Agriculture Sectors as focal points of drive for non-oil revenue sources,” he said.
The minister added that the industry had helped government in creating jobs and wealth for communities, industrial development, and energy efficiency among other benefits.
According to him, the Federal Government has embarked on several initiatives to develop the mining industry to harness the huge potential of the industry.
He listed some of the initiatives to include strengthening critical mineral sector institutions to deliver quality services to industry, restructuring the Solid Minerals Development Fund as key strategic vehicle to provide technical capacity and funding.
Others include generating reliable geoscience data, application of digital processes in governance of the sector, advancing the formalisation of informal mining operations, skills building for employment and establishment of mineral processing clusters in six zones.
Adegbite called on participants to help contribute innovative engineering solutions that would promote development and growth of the mining industry in the country.