BY CHRIS EKEKE, Abuja
The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has commenced the review of 1964 Explosive Act to curb illegal usage of the device in the country.
Special Assistant on Media to the Minister, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja.
Oyebode said the ministry in collaboration with the National Security Adviser’s office (NSA) conducted a holistic review of the act to address illegal diversion of explosives by some companies to criminal minded people.
He said that the ministry has sent the draft copy to the Ministry of Justice for further review.
He said the draft would be taken to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for further review and endorsement as soon as the Ministry of Justice releases it; adding that it would also be sent to the National Assembly for approval.
He added that the 1964 act was prepared to meet the situations as at then, adding that the penalties and fines in the act were too soft compare to the gravity of offences being committed by explosive users nowadays.
NAN reports that on august 2016, the NSA said seven suspects were arrested for allegedly supplying high-caliber explosives and detonators to militants wreaking havoc on key pipelines and facilities.
The explosives were diverted from an explosives-distribution company in the Niger Delta to the rebels.
A detailed audit of the records of explosives magazines and quarries in that region was conducted, which revealed the diversion of about 9,000 kilograms of high explosives and 16,420 pieces of detonators for illegal use.
NAN also reports that the ministry of mines and steel development is saddled with the responsibility of signing and monitoring of explosive usage in the country.