Wants holistic approach on security challenges

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, Tuesday, expressed pain and sympathized with families of victims killed at a mining site in Niger State.

Speaking with Vanguard in a telephone chat about the ban on mining activities in Niger State by the State Government, the Acting President of MAN, Musa Akpogu, described the news of killing miners and security operatives last week by gunmen as terrible.

Akpogu said the attack was a setback on the mining community and the economy at large.

He said: “We sympathize with miners who loses their lives during the attack at the mining site.

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“The news of killing security operatives and miners at the mining site in Ajata Aboki  in Shiroro Local Government of Niger State, which was about 45 of them.

“We are mourning and is really devastating as we have continued to lose our members to gunmen attacks.

“When something is bad you don’t do window-dressing, rather get to the taproot if not the issue of insecurity will keep recurring.

“Our problem in Nigeria is that we have lost grip of security, and losing grip of security affects the entire economy and that also affects livelihoods.”

He also counseled Government to restrategize on tackling insecurity across the country.

“It is important the leaders in this country consider best approach to tackle insecurity by restrategising so we as a country would have the desired results of peace and development”, he said.

However, the miners’ boss disclosed that quacks have invaded the mining sector who take advantage of Nigeria’s porus borders.

“Majority of people in the nation’s mining sector are quacks. Most of them are foreigners because they came in through our porus borders who claim to be Hausas, Yorubas, Fulanis, and others.

“Another challenge is we don’t have data base to identify them because they came in through Nigerians they know or who brought them into the country.”

He also accused foreigners as major cause of insecurity in the country.

“They have perpetrated havoc in Nigeria, and then snick out again including some Chinese and Indian nationals who are illegally mining out solid minerals, and as a result the community, local, state and federal governments are not generating any revenue as payment of royalty, and the consequences include huge revenue leakage”, he said.

The Niger State Government on Monday ordered the immediate suspension of mining activities across the State and directed security agencies to profile mining sites in areas that are prone to bandit attacks.

The ban came on the heels of last week’s attack at a mine at Shiroro Local Government of the State. No fewer than 45 people including 37 security personnel were killed by the gunmen during the attack.

It would be recalled that the gunmen also abducted four Chinese nationals.

The Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Matane, in a statement, explained the State Government’s decision became imperative due to the degenerated insecurity situation recently in mining areas.

The suspension is till further notice.

Matane said: “Following bandits’ attack on a mining site in Ajata Aboki Village in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has ordered the immediate suspension of all mining activities in Shiroro, Munya, and Rafi Local Government Areas, over continued bandits’ attacks.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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