Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has revealed how insecurity has been worsened by foreigners who patronise illegal gold miners in the State in exchange for illicit weapons.
He stated this in Abuja after he met briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on efforts by the Zamfara State government to tackle the menace by buying the gold off the miners instead.
He said “it is very important to us as a government to know the root cause of insecurity. Zamfara State is blessed with many minerals resources and some people outside the country come in to buy gold and other precious stones and sometimes instead of paying people, they pay back with arms. I did some investigations.
“So, the state government will be buying some of these minerals so that we can block that chain. The state government has engaged the miners and we will be buying some of this gold from them with the limited resources we have.
“We have some many cases of guns in Zamfara State. He (President) is very happy with the system we have initiated and he said whatever support that state government needs, the Federal Government is ready to assist us.”
The Governor said he had raised a committee that will coordinate the new system such that it “the government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will be buying (gold) from us directly. It is better as they are selling it very cheap in the mining areas. The Federal Government, CBN and State can come in and be buying from these small scale miners”.
Matawalle while opposing the sacking of the nations security chiefs for alleged incompetence, pointed out that “we have more than 3,000 policemen going round to protect the mining sites. We have the security, it is just for us as leaders to support them. I believe we will see a lot of changes in terms of security in this country”.
He further disclosed that “we now have gold refinery in the State, which is sited in Bakolori Dam. We want to make Zamfara a model in terms of solid minerals and I assure the people of the state that within two to three months, we will go into full scale mining”.
To this end, the Governor said Buhari advised him to look for serious investors like from South Africa and Russia to partner with the State.