A leader of the bandits in Zamfara State, Shehu Rekeb, says his group has banned mining activities in all the areas they operate.
The Federal Government had linked the activities of miners with banditry and ordered a stoppage of mining in the state.
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But in an interview with Daily Trust, Rekeb said even before the directive of the federal government, his group did not allow miners in their strongholds.
“In the past, white people went to the mines with security escort but that has stopped.
“We have banned it… but herders do not know how to mine. The only persons we allow are the villagers who are poor and have nothing to live on. We allow them into some places to get what they can survive on. But we have banned mining,” he said.
On March 2, the Federal Government had declared Zamfara a no-fly zone and also banned mining.
The Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, had expressed his mind on the doubt if the action could end banditry.
In a recent interview with Daily Trust, Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals, Dr Nuraddeen Isah, said the no-flight zone would not bring about the expected change in the security situation in the state because it was off the mark.
Dr Isah said it was ridiculous for anyone to draw such conclusion, noting that such things could only happen in a banana republic.
He said, “This is even an attack on us as a country. Are you telling me our sovereignty and integrity as a country is being breached? How will the rest of the world take us? Are we saying, as a nation, we don’t have record of movement of planes which come in and go out? In this state we don’t have an airport, we don’t have an airstrip. We only have a helipad which is within town.”