President Buhari interacting with troops deployed to curb the activities of bandits and criminals in Zamfara and neighbouring states under Operations Sharan Daji and Diran Mikiya, at Katsina Airport shortly before departing for Abuja on 25th Aug 2018
…perpetrators from B/Faso, Chad, Niger, others
By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA – MINERS under the auspices of Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, Tuesday, described recent Federal Government’s ban on mining activities in Zamfara State as coming too late.
This was contained in a statement signed by the National President, MAN, Kabir Kankara, while expressing concern over the spate of killings recently in the State.
Kankara said prior to the ban MAN had at different fora and through various channels raised the alarm that its members who hold legitimate mining titles with huge investments in the affected areas were practically chased out by these fully armed bandits.
He further stated that the association welcomes any measure aimed at restoring the sanctity of human lives and the security of investments of members who have been legitimately licensed by the government supervisory and regulatory agencies.
He said:“On Sunday, 7th April, 2019, the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammad Adamu, addressed a Press Conference, banning mining activities in Zamfara State as one of the measures to curb the increasing spate of insurgencies, banditry and general insecurity which had reached a boiling point in the gold-rich hinterland of the State.
“Prior to this action, Miners Association of Nigeria had, at different fora and through various media, echoed the cries of our members who hold legitimate mining titles with huge investments in the affected areas, but had practically been chased out by these fully armed bandits.
“The Association views this action coming from the government a bit behind schedule. The government, through her regulatory and security agencies, owe it a duty to protect the lives and investments of her legitimate licensees. This duty becomes more compelling in the mining sector because of the peculiarity of its operations which take place mostly far into the jungle and away from civilization.
“However, having said that much, the Association welcomes any measure aimed at restoring the sanctity of human lives and the security of the investments of our members who have been legitimately licensed by the government supervisory and regulatory agencies.”
He (Kankara) also in the statement alleged that armed-bandits-turned-illegal-miners were mostly from neighboring countries of Burkina-Faso, Chad, Niger and even, Ghana who are sponsored and have sophisticated weapons.
“Field reports have it that these armed-bandits-turned-illegal-miners are mostly from neighboring countries of Burkina-Faso, Chad, Niger and even, Ghana. The level of their reported sophistication in weaponry can only point at the backing of powerful sponsors and patrons both local and foreign.
“We therefore expect our security apparatus to beam their searchlights on such people and make no sacred cow of anyone or group that may be found culpable in the commission of these murderous crimes and economic sabotage”, he said.
The miners’ boss also raised concern over specific period the ban would last and said that, “But we equally noted that no timeline is attached to each of these activities. This lacuna is of concern to us, as we fear the “OPERATION PUFF-ADDER” turning into an Army of Occupation, staying till infinity and denying our members their legitimate returns on investments, which are collateralized funds with terms. Therefore, attaching a “TIMETABLE” to the operation’s agenda is a necessity”, he added