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Senate Knocks Alake’s ‘Inexperience,’ Says He Has Created Cloudy Future For Solid Minerals Ministry

The senate chided him for disregarding invitations, and threatened zero allocations in the 2024 budget.

The Senate, on Thursday, said the relative inexperience being exhibited by the Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals, Mr. Dele Alake, has created a cloudy future for the yet to be explored wealth of the ministry.

The upper chamber of the legislature, which summoned Alake, to appear before its Committee on Solid Minerals next Wednesday, chided him for disregarding its invitation and threatened zero allocation in the 2024 budget.

In another development, the senate has called for an end to violence against women in the country, and urged the police to prosecute those found culpable in gender-based violence (GBV).

Alake is expected to brief the senate committee on the federal government’s work plan to develop the sector and block illegal mining.

The committee made the resolution, during its meeting and expressed dissatisfaction about the failure of the minister to appear before it

The panel said Alake usually gave excuses that he travelled with Tinubu, and expressed concerns that the minister had abandoned his primary duties of bringing the mining sector to international repute.

The committee, which threatened to give zero allocation to the ministry in the2024 fiscal year, if the Minister failed to amend his ways, advised him to start responding to the invitations of the committee.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Sampson Ekong, who issued the summon at the meeting, maintained that his panel would ensure the right legal frameworks that would bring a positive turn around of the sector.

Ekong pointed out that accountability and transparency would be the watch word of the Committee.

He noted that the Bitumen bill sent to the Committee would be expeditiously processed and presented to the Senate for passage and onward transition to the President for assent.

“The Nigerian solid minerals and extractive industry is very vast and grossly under-taped. God in his unquestionable benevolence, has blessed Nigeria with huge mineral deposits.

“However, a number of factors have continued to hamper the sector. The sector has the potential of contributing significantly to our economy,” he said.

Ekong also pointed out that the 2021 contributions of the solid minerals sector to Nigeria’s GDP stood at 0.63 per cent.

Meanwhile, the senate resolution on gender-based violence followed a motion sponsored by Ireti Kingibe, senator representing federal capital territory (FCT), and 16 other senators.

The motion was to commemorate the 16 days of activism against GBV celebrated by the UN every year.

While moving her motion, Kingibe, who said GBV was a “pervasive problem worldwide,” added that, “Women are vulnerable and are at risk. More is needed to ensure that women live and are free of violence. The fatalities from GBV are more than 1,000.”

On her part, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, senator representing Kogi central, said women have also suffered in the hands of women, saying, “Nigerian women and the world have suffered in the hands of not just men but women and in various organisations. I support the call for a stop to the violence.”

Adams Oshiomhole, who is representing Edo north, said there should be stiff penalties for GBV offenders, and contended that, “I think we need to review the laws that have to do with violence against women. We need to make the penalties stiffer.”

The motion was adopted after it was put to a vote by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja