President Muhammadu Buhari has narrated how the outgoing minister of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi battled foreign and local elements to reclaim the nation’s solid minerals that were abandoned by previous governments.
“You know that sector was virtually abandoned. During the colonial days, they took what they wanted from us – tin, columbite and the rest until they struck oil somewhere It was simply priority of investment shifted offshore.
“When he (Fayemi) went in, he began to deal with both Nigerians and foreigners that are exploiting the lack of commitment of those who were responsible for that sector before he went there. If you recall, the number of children and women that suffered from the effect of mining in Zamfara State and other parts of the country and the people responsible, knowing that Nigeria will dump as decently as possible.”
President Buhari, who spoke at a valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the outgoing minister, who was leaving to go and contest the governorship of Ekiti State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said: “I very reluctantly allow Fayemi to go to his state because of his constructive contributions. As I sat here, I watched every minister that spoke about his contributions. This revealed not only intellect but when he was given the necessary time to contribute to important memorandum; he made contributions, which shows commitment to the progressive of this government and the country.
Buhari said that in his battle with foreign and local elements on the solid minerals, Dr. Fayemi used to brief him occasionally as he was packing them out of the country, with the cooperation of some of his colleagues.”
The President hoped that the outgoing minister will get the Ekiti back for the APC, even as he wanted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to embark on voters education so that ordinary Nigerians will believe that Nigeria is beginning to respect the sanctity of their votes.
He said that with the introduction of PVC and the card readers, votes counted, stressing that Nigerians should be made to expect that they can vote anybody across any party and at any constituency.
“I think that will give them the pride to voluntarily go and vote. It is not easy to go to Supreme Court three times, but I went through it, I wonder how many people will be proud to go through it in this country.
“So, we certainly wish you the best of luck but it will take me sometimes to get a substantive minister and more so with the 2019 prospects that I have already indicated. But we need a very very strong minister, strong in intellect and courage, so as to make sure that both the Nigerian and foreign collaborators of taking away our resources can be checked effectively.”