Mining Association names foreigners as Zamfara bandits, demands operational timetable
The Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) says the majority of illegal miners operating in Zamfara State and parading themselves as miners are mostly foreigners from Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger Republic and Ghana.
The association made this known in a statement signed by its national president, Kabir Moh’d Kankara, and made available to newsmen in Abuja, in a reaction to the ban on mining activities in Zamfara by the Federal Government.
“Field reports have it that these armed-bandits-turned-illegal-
miners are mostly from neighbouring countries of Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger Republic and even, Ghana,” the statement said.
According to Kankara, investigation shows that the bandits operate with high level of sophisticated weapons, which suggest that the bandits have powerful local and foreign personalities as their sponsors.
“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.
According to Kankara, MAN had, at different fora and through various media, echoed the cries of their members who hold legitimate mining titles with huge investments in the affected areas, but had practically been chased out by fully armed bandits.
Although the association saw government’s intervention coming rather late despite several calls on the authorities for intervention so as to save people’s huge legitimate investments in the area, it was, however, a move in the right direction.
The association charged government to provide more security for them and their business, saying that the peculiarity of their business demands extra security since mining takes place mostly in the jungle.
The statement said the association welcomes any measure aimed at restoring the sanctity of human lives and the security of the investments of their members “who have been legitimately licensed by the government supervisory and regulatory agencies.”
While appreciating the intervention of the security agencies, Kankara wondered why the operation did not have timeline in its operational timetable.
The lack of operational timetable meant that security agencies could occupy mining territories for a very long time.
“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,” he said.
In addition, Kankara charged the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) to activate its existing Mining Surveillance Task Force Team.
“This outfit must be provided with necessary logistics and fortified with adequate security personnel in order to keep banditry away from mining locations, not only in Zamfara State but in all the mining communities,” he said.
Kankara pledged the association’s readiness to collaborate with the relevant government agencies to bring sanity and due diligence to the mining industry.