Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Interior Minister inaugurates 50 marshals to protect mining sites

The Minister of Interior, Mr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo on Friday in Abuja, inaugurated a squad of 50 Civil Defence marshals saddled with the responsibility of protecting mining sites across the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inauguration of the marshals was part of activities to commemorate the World Civil Defence Day by the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

NAN also reports that the day is commemorated annually on March 1, and the 2024 event has the theme “Honor Heroes and Promote Safety Skills”.

Tunji-Ojo who also inaugurated operational vehicles for NSCDC, charged the corps to live up to its mandate of protecting critical national assets and infrastructure.

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According to him, every pipeline, telecommunication tower destroyed or solid mineral tampered with is a minus to the country.

“You have lots of work to do, and if you do not occupy your space someone else will, so you can only remain relevant by virtue of efficiency.

“As a security agency, the more you do, the more you have lots to be done and must not be tired, but willing to do more,” he added.

The minister also directed the corps to always support the Fire Service, and provide succour and support during national emergencies.

“Civil Defence has lots of work to do. You have arguable one of the most sensitive and broadest mandates”, he said.

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He further said that there was need to review the criteria for the establishment of Private Guard Companies (PGCs).

“We must be able to upscale our requirements and make the PGCs profession of pride, because their job is security related.”

He added that he had summoned an emergency board meeting to look into the issue of the allocation of peculiar allowances due to personnel of the corps

“I will go the extra mile to get it if need be. We care about your welfare, just as you have sleepless nights because you want us to sleep, and you sacrifice too much for us to ignore you,” Tunji-Ojo said.

He charged the new mining marshals to be ambassadors of the ministry, as well as Nigeria, and ensure that the corps shine in the committee of security organizations.

Earlier, the NSCDC Commandant General (CG), Dr Ahmed Audi, in his remark, explained that the squad was to protect mining sites, detect and apprehend illegal miners.

“The mining industry sometimes have these bad guys who hide in our forests and so it will not be a simple task, but we are capable, as our men have been well trained and are members of the special forces.

“They will work with sister agencies especially the military and in conjunction with the Ministry of Solid Minerals,” he said.

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Audi who frowned at the rate of oil theft in the country disclosed that reports indicated that a serious cabal were behind illegal mining activities in the country.

He said that the corps had however been able to develop a strategy to deal with the menace of illegal mining and oil theft.

He also said that the NSCDC Agro Rangers had redoubled efforts in ensuring farmlands were safe for agricultural activities.

According to the CG, reports from the All Farmers Association in Nigeria, indicates that yields had increased in recent times.

“Agro Rangers have cushioned the effect of farmland desertion in states like Borno, Yobe, Ekiti, Nasarawa and some parts of Kaduna. They have been escorting farmers to farms,” he added. (NAN)


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