June 14, 2024

Blackouts: FG to establish Power Rangers to protect energy investments

Blackouts: FG to establish Power Rangers to protect energy investments

By Omeiza Ajayi

The Federal Government has lauded the activities of Mining Marshals of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC, saying it is set to establish another specialized squad, ‘Power Rangers’ to protect investments in the Power and Energy sector.

Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo disclosed this on Friday in Abuja at the Passing out Parade POP and inauguration of the second batch of the Commandant General’s Mining Marshals who had undergone an 8-week intensive and rigorous training for the protection of Mining sites across the country.

Noting that the collaboration between his ministry and that of Mines and Solid Minerals Development has brought about enormous transformation the sector, Tunji-Ojo said several sites had been recovered from illegal miners.

He said; “This is a product of collaboration and partnership. This is the second batch and we have seen the result of the first batch which is quiet evident. Today, the revenue from the sector has improved. The security of our mines has improved. Nigeria is a large country and so we have to train more so that all our mines and all critical assets in the country are well protected.

“We are not just interested in solving today’s problems but we are interim solving tomorrow’s problems. What we are doing is building a self-sustaining system that will lead to stronger institutions and outlived the Renewed Hope Administration.

“We have seen that there is nothing wrong with Nigeria that cannot be made right by Nigerians. There is no problem that Nigerians cannot provide solutions for.

“In the solid minerals, we are winning the battle. We haven’t won the war yet, but we shall win it soon.

“I will speak with my brother, the Minister of Power. The rate of vandalism, of economic terrorism going on with our transmission lines have to be looked into.

“We are ready and I believe NSCDC is equal to the task. You are doing well I solid minerals. Next time I come here I want to see Power Rangers – personnel that will protect investments in the power sector.

“It is not acceptable for Nigeria to spend billions of dollars on power infrastructure only for the enemies of state to vandalize them. No country grows or develops without the power sector. So, NSCDC, it is time for you to play your part in the Power sector.

“We will take this sector by sector. I have decided that the solution for you to accomplishing your mandate is sectorization of your responsibilities. We are Solid Minerals. From here we will go to the Power and Energy sector, and from there we will go to the Agriculture sector”.

On his part, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr Dele Alake acknowledged the creativity and focus of the Commandant General of the NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi for developing more forces and more capacity for the attainment of the critical objectives of enforcing the provisions of the Mining and Mineral Act 2007 and other extant laws.

He said no one could have imagined the plight of licence owners who could neither engage in the exploration or mining of the cadastral units of their licences because bandits had defied the laws by occupying such spaces illegally.

Alake noted that since the inauguration of the mining marshals, they have provided relief by deploying themselves to successfully recover such places and enable the owners to resume legitimate businesses.

According to him, the illegal haulage of minerals has come under close scrutiny as arrests are made daily and the culprits are facing prosecution in the courts of law.

“These initial successes have sent strong signals to perpetrators of illegality in the sector and increased compliance.

“As we proceed to integrate and improve the collaboration between the mining marshals and the federal mines officers across the states, we expect increased sanitisation of the sector to encourage more investors to embrace these efforts to de-risk the business of mining.

“Let me warn illegal miners to embrace the bold initiative of the administration of he president bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, by formalizing their activities through the formation of cooperatives. The alternative is to face the dire consequences of prosecution for land degradation and illegal operations”, he declared.

Earlier, Dr Audi noted that one of the major challenges in the mining sector is illegal mining being undertaken by mostly artisans who operate without state permission.

“The aforementioned therefore underscores the need to emplace adequate security measures. This intensive training programme which is continuous, therefore becomes absolutely necessary to add value and bite to the fight against criminality especially illegal mining.

“The training is meant to further strengthen the capacity and efficiency of the Corps operatives saddled with the responsibility of safeguarding this all-important sector of the economy.

In addition, there is need for a robust policy guideline backed by legislation, for a robust regulatory measures to combat and criminalize illegal mining. This measure will no doubt attract and encourage genuine investors (both indigenous and foreign) to the Mining Industry”, he stated.