By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA—MINERS under the auspices of Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, yesterday, welcomed the police ban on mining activities in Zamfara State, saying it was purely to protect lives and properties and not to paralayse mining in the state.
Speaking on the development, National President of MAN, Kabiru Kankara, said the ban would curb illegality in mining sector and would weed out illegal miners and bring sanity to the sector.
He said: “I am comfortable with what the government has done so far which is not to muzzle the mining sector, but to sanitise and bring the security situation to normalcy. This ban is not just for miners but for the generality of the society. It is a welcomed development and the ban is not forever.
“This action will lead to curbing illegality in mining sector and it would weed out illegal miners for the sake of sanity in the sector, which will allow legal miners do their legitimate jobs. We have more illegal miners than legal miners. This is done for the Zamfara people and in generality of Nigerians. These illegal miners have taken advantage of the insecurity situation but with this,there would be sanity. It will be a wake-up call to those who are into illegal business in the sector across the country because illegality does not strive for ever.
On when the ban will be lifted,he said he had no idea saying, “I don’t know how long the ban will last.
Our members should enjoy life insurance as we have high level professionals in the sector, and so mining is no longer for riff-rafs as we have been taken to be. I will ensure they are sophisticated and technology inclined”
Also reacting to the ban , the National Secretary, MAN, Dele Ayanleke, said, “We cannot condemn what has happened out-rightly, but before we can make any informed opinion, since the Ministry is the supervising and regulatory agency of mining activities, we want to have their input. But for sure there have been threat to lives and not just threats, there have been real lost of lives in our operations in that area.
“The feelers we are getting from our members is that the measure to some extent is good only that we will not like a situation where security agencies will be an army of occupation in that place.”