President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an immediate security response to rising cases of violent banditry around gold mines in Zamfara State.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President’s order was in response to a ‘Save Our Soul’ message to him by Zamfara Speaker Nasir Magarya.
He directed the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd) to create a clear pathway to ending the resurgent banditry that has continued to cost lives and displacement of thousands of families from their towns and villages.
“Recall that recently, the Speaker of the Zamfara State House of Assembly, Hon. Nasir Magarya, wrote a letter in which he appealed to President Buhari to intervene and stop the incessant killings by bandits in the State.
“In this respect, a meeting is soon to take place that will deliberate on security and the issue of illegal mining which is fueling the crisis in Zamfara State.
“In addition to NSA the convener, the meeting will be attended by Major-General Bashir Magashi (Rtd), Ogbeni Ra’uf Aregbesola and Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, Ministers of Defence, Interior, and Mines and Steel respectively.
“Also to attend the meeting are the Directors-General of the Department of State Services, DSS, and the National Intelligence Agency, NIA.
“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.
“This meeting is expected to address these and associated issues of corruption, government oversight and lawlessness,” the statement said.