The Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) has called for full implementation of regulations governing the importation and handling of explosives in the mining sector.
The President of NMGS, Prof Akinade Olatunji, made the call in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday in Abuja.
The call was in reaction to the Ibadan explosion on Jan. 16, which was reportedly caused by storage of explosive materials by illegal miners.
No fewer than five people were reported killed, 77 injured and 58 buildings destroyed.
Olatunji said that the regulations had specifications for various stakeholders, explaining that if the regulations were followed the Ibadan incidence would have been averted.
“These regulations have roles for various stakeholders including the Mines Inspectorate Department of the Ministry of Solid Mineral Development, the Directorate of State Security (DSS) and the anti-bomb squad of the Nigerian Police Force.
“So the only way to prevent re-occurrence of such is the full implementation of the regulations governing the importation and handling of explosives in the mining sector,” he said.
According to him, defaulters of mining regulations should be sanctioned to check the activities of illegal miners and improper storage of explosives, adding that this will serve as a deterrent to others.
“Where there is no punishment for infractions and people are treated with kid gloves, illegality will always abound.
“If those found culpable in illegal mining are arrested, prosecuted successfully and jailed, others will run away from such illegality. Impunity and illegality thrive where there is no respect for law and order,” he said.
He said that Nigeria was blessed with huge potentials in the mining industry, and urged the government to engage professionals in growing the sector.
“The sector is knowledge-driven and we have sufficiently trained professionals who have requisite knowledge and experience that can drive the sector to the desirable level, if allowed by those in authority.
“There are experienced Geologists and Mining Engineers in Nigeria that can help to transform the sector if allowed to do their jobs and given opportunities to drive the sectoral reforms needed for the sector to blossom,” he said.
Our correspondent recalls that the President of the Miners Association of Nigeria, Mr Dele Ayanleke, had noted in relation to the Ibadan explosion that the explosives were not handled according to the regulations guiding their acquisition, handling, storage and usage.
Ayanleke said that the regulations required that a permit must be obtained from the relevant authorities which would state the quantity, adding that its movement should be monitored by the anti-bomb unit of the Nigeria Police Force.