FG Suspends Mining in Zamfara State As Banditry Surges, CSOs Accuse Defence Chief of Inaction To Stem Killings
The Federal Government has announced the suspension of all forms of mining activities in Zamfara, and ordered all foreigners engaged in mining activities to leave the area within 48 hours.
The acting Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, who disclosed this when he addressed State House correspondents in Abuja on Sunday, said the order was part of measures to check banditry in the state.
The IGP addressed the correspondents alongside the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari; Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Alhaji Yusuf Bichi and Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufa’i.
Adamu stated that the suspension of the mining activities followed “intelligence report that has clearly established a strong and glaring nexus between the activities of armed bandits and illicit miners -with both mutually re-enforcing each other”.
He, therefore, revealed that the federal government has directed as follows:
“Mining activities in Zamfara and other affected States are hereby suspended with immediate effect. Consequently, any mining operator who engages in mining activities in the affected locations henceforth will have his licence revoked. All foreigners operating in the mining fields should close and leave within 48hours,” he added.
The police boss assured the general public, especially those in the affected areas that the security services are doing their best to address the situation.
He maintained that as part of sustained efforts to flush out, and permanently put an end to banditry and criminality in Zamfara in particular and the North West in general, the Police in collaboration with the military and other security services had commenced “Operation PUFF- ADDER”, a full scale security offensive against the bandits.
“The operation is aimed at reclaiming every public space under the control of the bandits, arrest and bring to book all perpetrators of violence in the area and their collaborators, achieve a total destruction of all criminal camps and hideouts, mop up all illicit weapons fueling the violence and attain a full restoration of law and order in the affected communities.
“Our commitment at protecting the sanctity of life and property is irrevocable, and we will not scale-down the pressure on the armed bandits until they are totally flushed-out,” he said.
Meanwhile, a coalition of civil society groups has blamed the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, for his alleged inability to address insecurity in Zamfara.
The coalition made up of the Peoples Alliance for Indigenous Rights (PAIR), Society for Gender Equity (SGE), Network for Onward Nigeria (NeO), and The Peoples Collective (TPC), accused the defence chief of doing little or nothing to stem the killings.
A statement signed by Isa Yaro, National Publicity Officer of the group on Sunday in Abuja, described killings in Zamfara as tragic and unfortunate.
It blamed the Federal Government for failing to arrest the security challenge in the state, for over two years.
It noted that President Muhammadu Buhari ought to have sacked the Minister of Defence for his failures to address insecurity in the country.
“What we find happening in Zamfara state is not only unfortunate but tragic”.
“It is inconceivable that two years on, the Federal Government has failed to address the orgy of killings in Zamfara state. All the blame trading and trying to put Gov. Abdulazzi Yari as the main culprit is reprehensible. We all know that governors are merely chief security officers by name without inherent powers”.
“For long, the governor of Zamfara state has raised alarm over the buildup of a vicious militia with those responsible at the centre, doing little or nothing about it. From our findings, the Zamfara government has spent several millions in kitting, communication gadgets and allowances for the police and military posted to the state”.
“What we need to ask is how much leverage has the Minister of Defence, who is from the state, leveraged to address the carnage?
According to Yaro, it is good that there is a deployment of Special Forces to the state.
He however, appealed to President Buhari to learn from his past appointments in choosing those who will realise his Next Level Agenda come May 29.
On Saturday, some protesters stormed the Presidential Villa in Abuja to protest the killings in Zamfara, blaming the governor for not showing “enough concern.
Kadaria Ahmed, media personality and one of the organisers of the protest, accused Yari of not being concerned “about the people of Zamfara.(NAN)