Zamfara state government is buying off gold from artisanal miners to stop the commodity’s exchange for arms by foreigners, the state commissioner of Environment, Mining and Solid Minerals Development Dr. Nuruddeen Isah has disclosed on Wednesday.
Dr. Nuruddeen Isah said the state government never in any way claimed ownership of gold reserve in the state as they are aware that the state’s gold deposit is on the federal government’s exclusive list and the state never owned any mining company.
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He said those saying that the state government has hijacked the mineral deposits in the state as against the constitutional provision are being mischievous and are saying it out of sheer ignorance of the true situation on ground.
“Zamfara state is being plagued by armed banditry, cattle rustling and kidnappings and these crimes are being fuelled by the influx of arms from the foreign lands. We found out that those dealing in golds are mostly foreigners from Niger Republic and Burkina Faso and are bringing in arms in exchange for golds”
“We swiftly intervened by going to establish contact with artisanal miners to buy off what they mined and to ascertain who and who are players in the mining sector in the state,” he said.
“Moreover, people should understand that 80% of the players in the mining sector in the state acquired only explorations licenses not mining leases and are not even indigenous inhabitants of the state, they are from all over the country cutting across different spheres of life”
“There is a south easterner with investment in mining sector in the state and whose investment in the state’s gold mine is worth over N6bn.
“Those unfairly attacking the state should go and make discrete investigation about this not to be making false allegations out of mischief”
“We expect at least the southern governors to at least consult with governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle as one of their colleagues before rushing in to conclusion,” he added.