Federal mines officers posted to the states will now be held responsible for the diversion of explosives for illegal uses, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said.
Fayemi said this during a meeting with 37 newly-deployed federal mines officers in his office on Tuesday.
The minister urged them to pay attention to matters relating to the procurement, transport, storage and use of explosives in their respective states, stressing that they would be held responsible for any diversion of the materials to unauthorised persons.
He also assured them that they would be adequately equipped for the assignment.
Fayemi said none of the mines officers recalled last week had been found culpable over the reported illegal diversion of explosives, which led to the arrest of some individuals.
He, however, said there was a need for the new officers to be extra vigilant because of the sensitive nature of their job.
He stated, “The searchlight of the ministry, the law enforcement agencies and other accountability institutions will be beamed on you, and you can be rest assured that any officer found to have sabotaged the country in any form shall be summarily dealt with.
“An often neglected aspect of your job is the need to ensure that all monthly explosives returns and quarry returns submitted by the operators are checked and confirmed that such returns provide answers to the question contained there-in.
“Henceforth, all mining and quarrying companies operating in your various jurisdictions should always forward a copy of the monthly explosives and quarry returns to the corporate headquarters the first week following the month for which return is being made.”
The minister also advised them on the need to ensure that all payments to the Federal Government for services provided by the ministry were made to the Treasury Single Account.
On plans being made by the ministry to ensure effective service delivery, Fayemi said the ministry had partnered other crucial government agencies like the ministries of Environment, Health and Interior, as well as all security agencies, host state governments, traditional institutions and community leaders to ensure security and environmental safety.
He also revealed that government would soon deploy about 20,000 mining surveillance officers to strengthen regulatory operations across the country.
The minister said henceforth, recommendations on applications for explosives from the North-East, North-Central, South-South and South-East zones should be addressed to his office.