National Security Council Orders Security Agencies To Stop Illegal Mining.Adunni Adetola
The National Security Council has ordered nation’s security agencies to ensure the immediate stoppage of all illegal mining activities across Nigeria.
The Council, chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, which gave the order at the end of its meeting in Abuja on Friday also directed the National Security Adviser to the President, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno to investigate cases of oil theft in the Niger Delta areas.
Ministers of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and his Police Affairs counterpart, Maigari Dingyadi disclosed these when they briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council meeting held in Abuja on Friday.
According to Aregbesola, security and intelligence agencies have also been directed to enforce the order on the total ban on illegal mining activities in the country.
He said: “All security agencies have been ordered to check illegal mining all over the country.
”Illegal mining operations and activities in the country are ordered to be stopped and all security and intelligence agencies are to enforce this.”
Aregbesola further maintained that the Security Council was committed to ensuring a free and transparent electoral process as Nigeria prepares for its general elections next year.
He, therefore, urged politicians to pursue their democratic ambitions with decorum and in accordance with the laws of the land.
“That is the decision of the council. We are committed to ensuring a transparent free and fair electoral process in the coming elections and all the processes leading to it.
”So, we enjoin all political parties, individuals and Nigerians to pursue their democratic rights and interest with decorum. All security forces and agencies are advised to maintain the law,” he said.
On cases of crude oil theft, the Minister said the National Security Adviser was advised to put together a strong team in conjunction with the Secretary to Government of the Federation, to investigate all reported incidents of vandalisation of gas and oil pipelines in the country,
According to him, the team is to determine the rate of illegalities involved and perpetrators of such acts that are grossly affecting the economy of the nation and report back to the council.
Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, who also briefed the correspondents, stressed that the military would sustain its tempo of fighting oil theft and other criminals in the country.
“Activities of the Armed Forces and other security agencies within the oil and gas base were also commended but with the directive to sustain the pressure and it is our resolve to deal decisively with those who have been involved in those illegal acts,” he said.
He revealed that a total of 101 combatants comprising members of the Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) groups have been moved from detention facilities for de-radicalization.
“Council was also briefed that a total of 101 ex-combatants were taken to Operation Safe Corridor and are currently undergoing the process of de-radicalization at the centre.
”These were people that have been in detention for several years; some of whom had served their jail terms.
”Others were awaiting trial but because of the long time they have been detained and in line with the procedures for handling anyone who have been involved with terrorism, they have to be moved to the centre,” he said.
The Minister of police Affairs, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, who also addressed the correspondents after the meeting, said an agreement had been reached to ensure the re-opening of the Cement Company in Ogbajana, Kogi, to give room for peace in the State.
He said: ”An agreement has been reached between the Kogi State government and the Dangote Cement in Kogi on the need to re-open the factory and ensure that there is peace in the State.
”Government is committed to the provision of employment to its citizens rather than closing factories that will make people unemployed.
”We do hope that the parties involved will respect this agreement and come to terms with the memorandum of understanding signed by the parties involved,” he added.
Dingyadi said the agreement was reached under the supervision of the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.
He said the Council also reacted to the Thursday’s ruling of the Court of Appeal , which discharged the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu of the terrorism charges levelled against him by the Nigerian Government.
The minister said that Council was briefed and it observed that Kanu was discharged and not acquitted.
He said: “The issue of Kanu has also been raised and council was briefed on the state of things on the matter.
”And it was observed that Kanu was discharged but he is not acquitted.
”So, government is considering the appropriate action to be taken on the matter and Nigerians will be notified of the position that will be finally taken on the matter in due course”.