- Want Buhari, Atiku to articulate policy direction for sector
- Commends outgoing Perms Sec, Dr Mu’azu for immense development of sector
- Tasks FG on commitment to improve safety of mine workers
While commending the federal government for sustaining the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development (NCMMRD), the Nigerian Union of Mines Workers (NUMW) has charged the administration to ensure full implementation of safety recommendations and strategies devised at the all-inclusive deliberations that characterised the second edition of the NCMMRD at Hotel 17 Conference Hall, Kaduna, adding that the union will continue to work with government to foster development of the sector.
President of the Union, Comr Hamza Muhammed who made this known while fielding questions from our correspondent on the sideline said although the NUMW is a non-political union, he however tasked President Muhammadu Buhari Alh Abubakar Atiku to publish their policy directions for the sector if elected. According to him, “it is only when they tell us what they will do for the sector that we can assess their progress and holds them accountable for actions or inaction when they are finally elected.”
Hamza called on the Federal Government, Women in Mining and all mining sector non-governmental organisations to work with the mining union to realise set goals said the union consists of the individuals who labour in the minefields for the development of the sector, stating that the failure of relevant authorities to invite it to the Nigerian Mining Week is not encouraging. “We contributed our quota of ideas to the NCMMRD because we were invited, but we are not happy that the collaboration was has not been sustained as we were excluded from the list of invitees to the Nigerian Mining Week,” he added.
Hamza commended the outgoing Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Abdulkadri Mu’azu for his commitment to the development of the sector, saying that he will be greatly missed. “He is always very disposed to solving problems and has worked harmoniously with all staff in the ministry, a rare ability that was able to elicit best efforts from staff of the ministry,” he added.
Discussing the one of the core areas for which the 2018 NCMMRD meeting is significant, Comr Hamza said government needs to prioritise the safety of mines workers as it prioritizes the registration of mining companies, saying that the safety of citizens is an important aspect which should be given due attention.
“The mining industry has high risks, therefore safety of workers is paramount,” he said adding that government must rise up to the responsibility of effectively enforcing policies that guarantee safety in the industry.
“One of the ways in which government can show its commitment is by organising workshops and seminars on safer mining practices,” he said, adding that it is important to educate the mine workers on how best to keep themselves safe while practicing their means of livelihood.
While saying that the union of mines workers has not been able to singlehandedly carry out the sensitisation alone, he noted that support from the ministry of mines and steel development and concerned international organisations with focus on mining safety such as Medicine San Frontiers, Australian High Commission and the Namibia and Canadian Embassy among others will do much to reduce the risks to which miners are exposed to in the country.
Discussing the value that sensitization will impact on the sector the president said: “The established foreign companies mining operating in Nigeria must be mandated to make training of mines workers compulsory Corporate Social Responsibility,” he said adding that it companies train mine workers, it has the effect of improving the quality of services that the worker will render to his employer.
Recalling some sad incidences which occurred as a result of ignorance on the part of mine workers, Hamza said “quite a number of life-threatening injuries have occurred in some quarries that led to the closing down of quarry operations,” adding that the injuries are avoidable if only the workers were educated on safety practices in the mines.
“There are life threatening dusts in the mines which can lead to lungs infection, there are also vibrations that can make people deaf and there are other dangers peculiar to mining that can only be avoided by educating the mines workers,” he added.