Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, on Friday said the Federal government’s proposed legal framework on mining would end banditry in the state.
Matawalle in a statement signed by Malam Yusuf Idris, his Director-General Media Public Enlightenment and Communication, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for setting up the committee.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 14-member National Taskforce Committee was set up to draft a legal framework that would guide mining activities in the country.
The committee, chaired by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd) was inaugurated on Thursday, Nov. 25 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to the governor, the legal framework, when fully developed, would be most beneficial to the government and people of Zamfara.
“It will be a pacesetter in the right direction that provide lasting solution to the activities of armed bandits, kidnappers and other heinous crimes being perpetrated in the state.
“There is the need for the Federal government to draft a mining legal framework in order to have control and guiding rules and regulations as against the crude way many of the locals are put at life threatening risks with zero or very little benefit coming to them,” Matawalle said.
The governor recalled several pleas he made at different fora for positive, practical and workable measures to regulate mining activities in the country with particular reference to Zamfara.
He expressed dismay on the manner in which big foreign and indigenous companies and their owners, syphoned mineral resources of the state without any benefit to the government or the people.
Matawalle, however, noted with pleasure the inclusion of a representation from the state to serve on the committee.
He assured the Federal government that Zamfara, as a critical stakeholder, would contribute in no small measure to the development of the mining legal framework.
The state, represented on the committee by the Commissioner for Environment and Solid Mineral Development, Dr Nura Isah Gusau, had been mandated to screen 10 indigenous companies to engage in mining activities in the state.
NAN reports that some of the committee’s terms of reference included development of a framework for vetting of prospective miners who would undertake mining activities in Zamfara and other states in the country.
It is also to conduct background checks and selection of the prospective companies forwarded by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Solid Mineral Development for mining in Zamfara and other states.
The committee would conduct any other task in relation to the assignment given to it.
The NSA had noted that some of the attendant security challenges which necessitated the Federal government to ban illegal mining in Zamfara could be reduced and the state would regain its status in socio-economic development.
The NSA, during the Inauguration, pledged to support the committee to carry out the assignment diligently.(NAN)