The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday in Abuja approved N987 million for the procurement of 50 vehicles for Special Mines Surveillance Task Force to check illegal mining activities across the country.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council’s meeting.
The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the First Lady Conference hall, Presidential Villa.
Fayemi stated that the approval became necessary due to the negative impacts of illegal mining on the nation’s economy, saying that Nigeria had lost over nine billion dollars to illegal mining activities between 2014 and 2015.
“What this memo that went to council, requested from council was the approval of 50 Hiace vehicles for the Special Mines Surveillance Task Force to capacitate them in their work to monitor and curb illegal mining activities in all the 36 state and the Federal Capital Territory and then to support the collaboration between the federal and state governments via the mineral resources and environmental committee that the mining Act as allowed to be set up in all the states.
“So, this memo went to Council for procurement of these 50 Toyota Hiace vans for the sum of N987million,’’ he said.
The minister said he informed the Council of the recent figures released by National Bureau of Statistic on the contribution of the mining sector to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleman Adamu, who also briefed the correspondents, said council approved N606 million to the contractor of the Gurara-Abuja Water pipelines for operating and maintaining it for nine years.
He said the amount would be paid by his ministry and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
According to him, the water project was initiated to supply water primarily from Gurara dam to lower Usuma dam by a distance of 75-kilometres with a three nester diameter pipeline.
“This project was completed in 2008 but since then no effort was made to discharge the contractual obligation after the obligatory maintenance period.
“We have been working since last year to take over this pipeline in particular because it is very strategic and it is meant to augment water supply during the dry season in Abuja.
“We believe after construction it doesn’t make sense for the project to remain in the hands of the contractor for close to 10 years now without our taking possession and being responsible for the operation and maintenance of the pipeline.
“The memo was approved and in the next 12 months we would have prepared our own personnel to take over the operation and maintenance of the scheme and for the contractor to totally disengage from the project site after 10 years.’’
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelemah, said the council approved the second National Action Plan and the integrated Operationalization Plan for Executive Order 1.
He disclosed that he also updated the Council on the activities of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council on the works carried out by the council in the months of June, July, August and September.