Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development Abubakar Bawa Bwari has challenged the leadership of Miners Association of Nigeria to eschew anything that promotes insecurity and illegality in the mining industry.
The minister said this when the newly elected members of MAN led by the new President, Alhaji Kabiru Mohammed paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
He said, government cannot fold its hands and allow bandits and hoodlums destroy the industry.
While thanking the past leadership of the association led by Alhaji Shehu Sani for the harmonious relationship the association had with the ministry, he challenged the new executive members to borrow a leaf from their past leaders while striving to leave more legacies than they did.
Bwari acknowledged that the mining sector was ignored for a very long time but with the coming of Muhammadu Buhari led administration in 2015 with the economic diversification agenda, the mining sector has been considered as one of the key contributors to the agenda. According to the minister, government has shown more interest in the sector and that gave room for the mining and steel road map which serves as pivot on which the activities and growth of the sector revolves.
Alhaji Kabiru pledged the association’s loyalty to the ministry with a promise that the association will perform better than his predecessors in term of taking the industry and operators to enviable height.
Meanwhile, Royal Association of Gurara/Jere Sand Miners of Nigeria also visited the minister with the aim of intimating him on the contributions of the association to the mining sector especially as regards job creation, youth empowerment and infrastructural development.
Chairman of the association, Comrade Sani Uba while x-raying the mission and vision of the association said the group has trained over two hundred youths in the areas of modern excavation, machine operation and so on.
In addition, the association has created jobs for over five hundred youths, rehabilitated some primary schools in Kagarko LGA and constructed some rural roads.
According to the chairman, the association has rolled out a programme tagged Vision 2019 to 2023 aimed at offering more scholarship to youth, empowering more youth, building more bore hole in rural communities and construction of more roads.
Notwithstanding, he listed some of the challenges of the association which included double taxation by the federal and state governments, insecurity in operation sites and lack of funding from appropriate banks.
The minister, in his remarks extolled the achievement of the association particularly in the areas of human capacity building and provision of infrastructures within their locality. He pointed out that the association is one of those that have keyed into the agenda of the present administration in terms of contribution to the GDP and employment generation.
On the various challenges being experienced by the association, the minister promised that the government will do everything humanly possible to strengthen surveillance in the area in order to create an enabling environment for the association to operate without fear.
On the issue of financing, the minister advised them to liaise with the Mining Inspectorate Department of the ministry for technical advised on how to go about it.
Bawa Bwari warned them on the danger of going contrary to environmental regulations because according to him any action that contravenes the environmental laws will not be compromised