Federal Government To Purchase 38 Surveillance Cars

By Akin Oyewobi

The Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday approved the direct procurement of 38 patrol SUVs manufactured locally, to enhance the operations of the inspectorate division of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

Muhammadu Buhari, former Nigerian military ruler and presidential candidate for the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) speaks during an interview with Reuters at a private residence in Lagos February 19, 2011. Buhari, the main opposition candidate in Nigeria's presidential election, said he was optimistic it would be a more credible race than in the past but warned events in north Africa showed people would no longer accept a rigged vote. Picture taken February 19, 2011. To match Interview NIGERIA-BUHARI/ REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye (NIGERIA - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT)

This was the high point of the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari during which the council also ratified the Lake Chad Water Charter.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, and his Water Resources Counterpart, Suleiman Adamu, spoke to journalists on the outcome of the meeting.

According to Mr. Fayemi, the session marked one year in office of the ministers, who used the occasion to review progress made by the administration as well as its challenges.

“We are one year in office in two days’ time; so this is the anniversary cabinet meeting.

“And it gave us the opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made as a government, the challenges that we still have to tackle.”

“We also used the occasion to reiterate our commitment to Mr President for giving all of us the opportunity to serve the nation and to do so in a manner that advances our democracy and the development of our country.

“Aside from that, we took on two other memoranda, one from the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and another from the Ministry of Water Resources.

“On the Mines and steel Development it was the approval of the direct procurement of Nissan Patrol vehicles for the Mines Inspectorate (division) in our 36 states.”

According to the minister, for a decade, the division which oversees artisanal mining has not purchased any vehicle.

He said that the vehicles would be used for surveillance of illegal mining activities and to tackle various field challenges faced by the ministry’s workers.

The minister recalled the recent killing of some miners by bandits in Zamfara and the death of two miners in Paiko, Niger State, adding that through proper surveillance, such incidents could be avoided.

Mr. Fayemi said that as part of the ministry’s road map, a surveillance task force had been established with the ministries of interior and defence as well as the police and civil defence.

He said that the approval for the purchase of the vehicles was a demonstration of the government’s commitment to supporting Made in Nigeria products.

“Over the last three months, all the approvals we had for the purchase of vehicles for Mines and Steel, Interior, Immigration and EFCC were procurements authorised to buy vehicles from local assembly plants.

“This is so that we can begin to strengthen our automotive industry and the government remains committed to that and this approval is further confirmation of the government’s commitment in that direction.

“It speaks directly also to our determination to really begin to focus a lot more seriously on the activities of informal or illegal miners,” he said.

The minister added that the ministry was eager to define the role it could play in supporting artisanal and small-scale miners in fulfilment of the administration’s job creation and revenue generation agenda.

He said the vehicles worth N326.78 million would be bought from local automobile companies and given to each of the states and Abuja with Lagos State being allocated two.

Also speaking, Mr. Adamu added that the second memo considered by FEC was the ratification of the Lake Chad Water Charter.

He said that a treaty was signed by all the Lake Chad Basin Commission countries in 2012 which required the ratification of 95 per cent of the countries before it could come into effect.

“It was ratified today and the next stage is for it to go to the National Assembly for an enactment of the law to back it.

“The charter seeks to strengthen cooperation between all the member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and to forge some kind of consensus on issues relating to environment, security and the future of the lake itself.

“The lake has been threatened by climate change over the years; it has shrank to less than 10 per cent of its storage capacity 40 years to 50 years ago.

“And all efforts are being put in place to ensure that the lake is safe from extinction and to improve the security situation in the region,” he added.

Mr. Adamu ascribed the restlessness and insurgency in the north-east partly to the shrinking of the lake and expressed the hope that with other countries ratifying the charter, the security in the region could be guaranteed.

Source: allafrica.com and NAN

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