Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to address you on this occasion of the commissioning of newly acquired field vehicles for the Zonal and Federal Mines Officers in the 36 States, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of the Federation. This occasion is historic because this is the first time in the history of this Ministry that such a large fleet of field vehicles would be procured for deployment at once.
The execution of this vehicle procurement project is therefore a clear demonstration of the commitment of this administration to our strategic goal of repositioning the Mining Sector for greater productivity. One of our objectives is to strengthen our ministry with the requisite capacity and capabilities to deliver on our mandate to effectively regulate the sector.
Accordingly, Government has undertaken this heavy investment in tools and logistics required for field inspection and monitoring of mining operations. The overall purpose is to ease mobility, enhance in-field analysis and facilitate effective discharge of mines inspectorate services, and other regulatory duties of the technical departments of the Ministry.
The purchase of this fleet of 38 field vehicles has cost Government over N400m, which is no small expenditure in view of competing priorities. By procuring these vehicles we have successfully addressed the challenge of the absence of logistical support for field operations of the technical departments of the Ministry. This progress will result in scaling up the capacity of the departments for the effective discharge of their statutory duties and functions.
Accordingly, we expect that this investment would lead to the following outcomes:
- Prompt monitoring of all mining/quarrying operations to assess mineral production and serve demand notices for royalty payment due to Government.
- Close monitoring of artisanal and small scale mining operations by Mines Artisanal Officers to provide extension services to the operators, for safer and increased mineral production.
- Closer monitoring and effective enforcement of compliance by mining operators, in line with environmental requirements and obligations.
- Routine inspection of mines and quarries to enforce compliance by operators with health and safety regulations.
- Closer surveillance of the mines fields to identify and curb illegal mining activities and make appropriate reports.
- Prompt resolution of conflicts arising from mining activities.
- Closer monitoring of the manufacture, importation, transportation, storage, and usage of high explosives.
Beginning from January next year, I expect to start seeing the positive impact of this investment in terms of increased revenue generation, reduction in the number of illegal mining incidences, fewer cases of conflicts arising from mining activities, and timely rendering of periodic reports of mining activities from your respective stations.
I must say that we are not unmindful of the fact that the provision of these vehicles alone is not enough to create the desired institutional capacity to operate our planned programmes. The Ministry will therefore endeavor to further support with increased funding of the Zonal and Federal Mines Offices to provide for the fueling of the vehicles and proper functioning of the offices.
Note of Warning
I urge you all to use the vehicles strictly for the official duties they are meant for. I must warn that for no reason should the vehicles be used for unofficial purposes except with express approval. In order to discourage arbitrary use of the vehicles for purposes other than the discharge of official duties, the vehicles have been installed with tracking devices that will enable the Ministry monitor their movements centrally from Abuja.
Consequently, any officer that runs afoul of the ethical use of the vehicles shall be dealt with in accordance with relevant Civil Service Rules (CSR).
For the Ministry to deliver on its mandate we must all work as a team. Let me stress that we cannot afford to fail and therefore every hand must be on deck. There is no room for laziness, truancy and any unethical practice. You are aware that this Government has zero tolerance for any form of corrupt practice and any officer found wanting in this regard will be appropriately sanctioned.
You must therefore continue to discharge your duties not only in an effective and efficient way, but also guided by the ethos of transparency and accountability.
I wish you all safe journey back to your respective stations, and the very best of this season.
Thank you for listening.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON
Abuja, Nigeria | Monday, December 19, 2016