Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto
Zamfara State Governor, Dauda Lawal, yesterday issued a ban on illegal mining activities and ordered law enforcement officials to take stringent actions against violators.
Over the years, illegal mining in Zamfara State has fuelled banditry and other criminal activities.
Governor Lawal, in a statement by his Spokesperson, Sulaiman Bala Idris, noted that it’s time to end this destructive activity and implement measures to protect the safety and well-being of the people.
He stressed that security operatives had been given strict orders to take bold action and shoot on sight anyone found engaging in illegal mining.
He said: “The directive is necessary to ensure the safety and security of the good people of Zamfara and deter potential wrongdoers from committing such acts.
“It is also a swift action to enable the State Government to be in total control of state resources and block activities that endanger the lives and properties of the people.
“Illegal mining is undeniably one of the driving forces behind the rampant banditry plaguing Zamfara State. We must take swift, decisive action to curb this menace and restore peace and security to our communities.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Dele Alake, had earlier this month given all miners engaged in the illegal extraction of mineral resources in the country an ultimatum of 30 days to join notable mining cooperatives or face the full wrath of the law.
The minister also unveiled a plan to set up a surveillance task force that would include policemen and other relevant agencies to secure the mines in the country.
While announcing that the 30-day ultimatum to miners and plan to introduce security operatives were parts of his seven transformation agenda, the minister said he was baffled that a country with precious minerals like gold, bitumen, lithium and uranium in massive proportions could fail to use the resources to liberate its citizens.
“I am giving illegal miners in this country just 30 days’ grace to join cooperatives or find another vocation. Also, the proposed task force will be domiciled in the ministry and will comprise operatives of all the relevant security agencies.
“For the last time, let me declare again that the ministry is giving such persons 30 days grace to join a miners’ co-operative or find another vocation to do.
“On the expiration of the period, the full weight of the law will fall on anyone seen on a mining site without a determinable status. This message will be interpreted into Nigerian languages and broadcast on the radio to ensure no one is ignorant of this directive,” Alake had reportedly explained.