By Udora Orizu
The House of Representatives has asked the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to immediately stop issuing licences to oil serving companies for the importation of explosives.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Micheal Enyong Okon, gave the directive in his ruling at an investigative hearing on licencing and sale of explosive devices by chief executives of some oil servicing companies in Nigeria.
He said some companies were not complying with the extant laws, and with the prevailing security situation in the country, there is the need to ascertain the adherence of these companies to extant statutes and regulations on explosives control vis-a-vis the administration and utilisation generally.
The lawmaker said the companies were importing more than authorised, fearing that the explosives could get into the hands of terrorists who may use it against the country.
Okon said: “It is important that we educate them on the need to ensure that the administration and utilisation of explosives is in accordance with the Explosives Act of 1967 as contained in the laws of Nigeria. The permit is issued by the Ministry of Mines and Steel, and the end users certificate is also issued by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
“The end user certificate would also show the items you brought into the country. You can have less of these products. It is not a problem, but when you have more than what was authorised, what you were allowed in the permit, it therefore means that you are importing these explosives illegally into the country, and that is worrisome, especially in the prevailing security situation in the country. So, we want to know the whereabouts of these explosives. We want to make sure these particular items do not end up in the wrong hands-it can be terrorists, aliens. That’s why we are here to make sure there is a corresponding inventory from the end users.’’