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Tinubu Meets Miners, Says he Will Not Respond to “Ugly Rumours”

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, says he will not respond to “untruths and ugly rumours,” but stick to real issues during the period of the campaigns for the office of the president.

Mr Tinubu, who is facing scrutiny over his past, stated this on Thursday during a town hall meeting with the mining and agro-processing industry players in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.

The APC presidential candidate is facing questions on the 1993 money laundering case involving some bank accounts linked to him.Recently, a certified copy of the judgment delivered by a United States (US) District Court in Illinois resurfaced on social media.

The Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) has, however, dismissed the judgement, describing it as nothing new.

Although he did not refer to the matter outright, Mr Tinubu in his address to the miners, said, “We shall (not) allow the desperate, devoid-of-substance campaigns of others to engage in divisive identity politics and the promotion of untruths and ugly rumours.

“We, the APC, shall continue to stand before the Nigerian people to discuss the real issues of the day and offer insight into the policy solutions we intend to deploy to solve them. In this, we remain the best and only hope for progressive good governance in Nigeria.”

The former Lagos State governor also promised the miners that his administration will explore Public, Private, Partnership (PPP) arrangements to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Mill.

“My administration will ensure the full completion and operation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company under a viable Public-Private Partnership structure,” he added.

He also lamented the inability of the country to utilise its natural endowment and resources. He stated that he plans to increase the contribution of the mining sector to the GDP.

“Few nations are as well-endowed as Nigeria, given our industrious, energetic population and our vast inventory of land, water, and natural resources.

“Our beloved nation has abundant, commercially viable solid mineral deposits such as coal, limestone, iron ore, bitumen, lead, zinc, gold and a variety of gemstones.

“The solid minerals sector contributed less than 1% to our GDP in 2020. We need to increase this amount every year. My administration will develop the solid minerals sector, establishing policies that will encourage investment for growth in that sector,” he said.Mr Tinubu appreciated Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State for giving him the opportunity to share his vision. He also commended the governor for his efforts in developing the state and called for its sustenance.

Speaking at the event, Mr Sule said Mr Tinubu’s engagement with the mining community would also afford the opportunity to know the economic potentials of the state in mining and security.

He listed solid minerals in commercial quantities in the state, which include lead, gold, barite, marble and iron.

“I thank Asiwaju Tinubu for visiting our state and our people have always wanted to see you to ask you questions and you are here to answer their questions,” Mr Sule said.

On his part, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and Director General, Tinubu/Shettima Campaign Organisation, described the Lafia town hall meeting as another worthy engagement between the APC presidential candidate and critical stakeholders in the state.

He also said Nasarawa state is the home of huge solid mineral deposits that have remained untapped with attendant insecurity caused by illegal miners.

Mr Lalong promised that Mr Tinubu would squarely address issues bordering the mining sector during his tenure, if given the mandate.”Tinubu is a man with untainted records of solving challenges. We are lucky he is ready to serve our country at this time,” he said.

The APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, however, charged Mr Tinubu to get ready to lead Nigeria to the promised land.

Mr Adamu said the state was endowed with mining opportunities.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Mines and Solid Minerals, Tanko Al-Makura (APC-Nasarawa South) called for unbundling of the mining sector to allow for more participation in the sector.

“I have sponsored a Bill on Nigeria Mineral Development Corporation, which has passed first and second readings in the Senate as the Bill, if passed, will boost the mining sector,” he said.

He also called on Nigerians to develop more interest in mining considering its importance to human and societal development.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forum had in attendance Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State; Babagana Zulum of Borno State; former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; Emir of Lafia and Chairman of Nasarawa Council of Chiefs, Sidi Bage Muhammad (rtd), among others.

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