Deji Elumoye, Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja and Peter Uzoho in Lagos
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), to meet urgently with some ministers and other security chiefs to deliberate on security and illegal mining, which is fueling crisis in Zamfara State.
Apart from the NSA who will be the convener of the meeting, the Minister of Defence, Maj.Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd); Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola; and Minister of Mines and Steel, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, are to be in attendance.
The president, in a statement by his media adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, named others to attend the meeting to include the directors-general of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
He described the proposed meeting as the president’s immediate response to rising cases of banditry in Zamfara State.
The president ordered that there must be a clear pathway to ending the resurgent banditry that has continued to cost lives and the displacement of thousands of families from their towns and villages.
Beyond the problems of bandits and cattle rustlers, the scale of lawlessness has been aggravated by illegal miners who are harvesting resources they have no legal rights to exploit.
Official statistics suggest that there are more than 20,000 such miners undermining this important part of the economy, operating in a manner that is extraordinarily harmful and destructive. The result is chaos.
The meeting, according to the president, is expected to address these and associated issues of corruption, government oversight and lawlessness.
Recently, Speaker of the Zamfara State House of Assembly, Hon. Nasir Magarya, wrote a letter to Buhari in which he appealed to the president to intervene and stop the incessant killings by bandits in the state.