Operationalise The Mining Surveillance Task Force Team – MAN Urges FG
Abubakar Bwari, Minister of Mines and Steel Development
The Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, has urged the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to operationalise the Mining Surveillance Task Force Team which was launched few years ago.
Alhaji Kabir Kankara, the National President of the association made this known in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja.
“The team must be provided with necessary logistics and fortified with adequate security personnel to keep banditry away from mining locations, not only in Zamfara but in all the mining communities.”
He however assured the government and her agencies of the readiness of the association to cooperate with them to ensure peace and due diligence in the mining sector.
“We welcome any measure aimed at restoring sanctity of human lives and investments of our legitimate members operating in Zamfara. Our members will comply with the directive that all mining activities should be suspended in Zamfara within 48 hours,” he said.
The federal government announced the suspension of all forms of mining activities in Zamfara within 48 hours on April 7.
The Acting Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, who announced the government order, said the suspension was part of measures to check banditry in the state.
He explained that the order followed intelligence report that clearly established a strong and glaring nexus between the activities of armed bandits and illicit miners with both mutually re-enforcing each other.
Kankara said the association had noted the highlights of activities that the security agencies intended to embark upon, and the objectives they intended to achieve.
“The suspension of mining activities is one of the measures to curb increasing spate of insurgencies, banditry and general insecurity which has reached a boiling point in the gold-rich hinterland of the state,” he said.
He said the field reports from legal mining operators in the state confirmed that the armed bandits turn to illegal miners who were mostly from neighboring countries such as Burkina-Faso, Chad, Niger and Ghana.
“The level of their reported weaponry sophistication can only point at the backing of powerful sponsors and patrons, both local and foreign. We therefore expect our security apparatus to beam their searchlights on such people and make no sacred cow of anyone or group found culpable in the commission of murderous crimes and economic sabotage,” he said.
He added, “The government, through her regulatory and security agencies, owe it a duty to protect the lives and investments of her legitimate mining licensees”.
“This duty becomes more compelling in the mining sector because of the peculiarity of operations which take place mostly far into the jungle and away from civilisation.”
Kankara, however, noted with concern that no timeline was given on how long it would take to flush out banditry activities from all the mining sites, adding that most of their members had huge mining investments currently running.
“This lacuna is of concern to us, as we fear the “OPERATION PUFF-ADDER” staying till infinity and denying our members their legitimate return on investments, which are collateralised funds with terms”.
“Attaching a time-table to the operation’s agenda is a necessity; equally, another concern to us is the need to emplace a permanent security system post-operation in the state.” (NAN)