Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) wednesday in Abuja set up a ministerial committee to investigate the earth tremor which rocked Abuja last Thursday and report its findings to the council.
Briefing journalists at the end of the weekly FEC meeting, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello, listed ministries which make up the committee to include: FCT, Science and Technology, Power, Works and Housing and Steel Development.
According to him, there is no cause for concern as preliminary investigation showed that the tremor was mild as experts said Nigeria was not prone to earthquake disaster, emphasising that the development cannot result in wild tremor.
“There was a movement called tremor but it was very mild. Preliminary investigations showed that it was mild in Mpape from where it spread to other parts of Abuja. It was very mild. There was no cause for concern. Experts informed us that Abuja didn’t fall into geological areas that can lead to tremor. The council set up a ministerial committee consisting of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Power, Works and Housing, Mines and Solid Minerals and FCT to look into the situation,” he said.
Furthermore, the minister said mining activities and blasting of rocks in Mpape had so far been suspended until the conclusion of investigation.
However, he also pointed out that preliminary investigation into the development revealed that the tremor was not caused by mining activities and rock blasting in Mpape.
Also briefing, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the council deliberated on the report of Electoral Reforms Committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari and chaired by former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, to examine various issues including provisions of the Constitution on Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
According to him, the committee was set up to come up with a report aimed at enhancing the electoral process, entrenching accountability in the conduct of elections and political parties’ affairs, ensuring speedy resolution of pre-election matters and election disputes as well as imposing stiffer penalties on electoral offenders.
According to Malami, the committee proposed the initiation of Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal Bill 2018 and two other bills for onward submission to the National Assembly for enactment.
He also said the committee recommended the proposal of constitutional provisions that would enhance the electoral process, regulate activities of political parties and guarantee the independence of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a way that it cannot be subjected to the manipulation or control of any authority.
Consequently, he said the council approved the review and initiation of Constitution Alteration Bill 2018, Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018, Electoral Offences Commission Bill 2018 with a view to achieving the objectives.
In his briefing, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, said he briefed the council on the second quarter report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the economy grew by 1.5 percent during the quarter.
According to him, the council was particularly encouraged by the continuous growth of the non-oil sector by 2.05 percent, adding however that the council expressed concern on the state of crude of oil and agriculture.
Consequently, he said efforts would be intensified to raise oil production volume to 2 million barrels per day and simultaneously raise the growth of agriculture to three per cent.
“The non-oil sector grew by 2.05 percent and we are very encouraged by this. In fact, this is consistent with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) objectives. However, the council was a bit concerned about agriculture as well as crude oil, and so we intend to intensify efforts in agriculture which has been affected by some of the insecurities in some parts of the country and some of the clashes which are now being contained.
“So, we expect agriculture to pick up again. We expect it to go back to the 3 percent which we had been experiencing before. Then, in terms of crude oil production, we are going to intensify work to get oil production back to over 2 million barrels a day,” Udoma said.