Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, wednesday formally resigned from President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s cabinet as the Minister of Mines and Steel Development.
Fayemi, while handing over to the Minister of State, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, in Abuja, noted that Bwari, though is stepping into the shoes in acting capacity and hopefully in permanent basis, added that it is only logical instead of bringing a new minister.
The minister, who resigned his position to pursue his governorship ambition in the forthcoming Ekiti State gubernatorial election, suggested that â€œit will be better not to bring in someone who will not know the job as much as my colleague who has worked closely with me.â€
Fayemi, during his valedictory speech, revealed that his resignation letter to Buhari was approved May 30, 2018, to allow him focus on the election.
According to him, â€œLeaving Buhariâ€™s cabinet and the ministry was with mix feelings and overwhelmed by emotions, including support from the Minister of State, Bwari.â€
Fayemi, while highlighting achievements recorded in the sector since he was appointed minister, said the sector has improved its performance and contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy, which has tripled the ministryâ€™s contribution to the federation account to about N2 billion in 2016 up from N700 million in 2015.
He noted that the sector also recorded a seven per cent increase in GDP in 2016, in spite of the country being in a recession. Fayemi added that â€œthe Nigerian Bureau of Statistics also recently affirmed that revenue from exports in the mining sector grew by 592 per cent between 2016 and 2017.â€
Addressing illegal mining and community challenges, he explained: â€œWe at the ministry have delivered on the objective of building a collaborative sector security framework by working extensively with state governments and relevant ministries to formalise and manage our artisanal miners, while also working with defence and security agencies to curb the actions of illegal mining in the country.
â€œUnder the â€˜MinDiverâ€™ programme, we have commenced the modalities for capacity building in community-based organisations and other community representatives, helping them participate in key decisions in mining operations and processes.
â€œWe are also providing guidance on suitable benefit sharing mechanisms (e.g. foundations, trusts and funds) and their applicability in different mining operations at all levels of engagement on behalf of mining communities.â€
Fayemi, while addressing the issue of lead poison, stated: â€œLead poison is not what we are ignoring, and as a matter of fact, one of the things we are doing, is that we are trying on how best we can minimise the use of mercury by promoting the use of borite for mining to safeguard the life of host communities.â€
Responding, the acting Minister, Bwari, noted that â€œit wonâ€™t be easy for us that have to run the ministry.
â€œI learnt a lot from him as colleagues on the job, as well as brothers and friends. If thereâ€™s another opportunity, I will want to work with him again.â€