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IGP Mohammed-Abubakar-Adamu

Unregulated illegal mining major cause of bloody gold deals in Zamfara—BHIU

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…Buyers largely foreign mafias who arm fronting bandits

A scenario gradually assuming the shape of how the Rwandan genocide started via fight for blood diamond is underway in the Zamfaran unregulated, illegal and largely informal blood gold mining enterprises.

Recall that Zamfara State in Northwest Nigeria, has been ravaged by bandits and kidnappers for over two years now, but undercover investigations by crack officials of Business Hilights Intelligence Unit (BHIU), an independent business research arm of Business Hilights Publications, spent three weeks in Yauri, Kebbi State, a border emirate to Zamfara, has come up with a damming report on how they operate.

Two factors were responsible for the soaring carnage and atrocities in Zamfara linked to illegal gold mining in Zamfara; negligence of the Federal government to create Gold Mining Regulatory Commission to serve exactly like NNPC in the nation’s oil sector; and state’s government carelessness in playing into the hands of artisanal and small scale miners who are now largely infiltrated and sponsored by foreign mafias who buy mined gold from them with some percentage of arms and terror briefings.

Recall that Business Hilights had in November last year published a related story where an NGO, Africa Environmental & Economic Peace Mission (AEEPM) had called for creation of Nigerian National Mining Commission (NNMC), .

Findings by BHIU showed that tagging the criminals in Zamfara bandits is an understatement and very wrong name if the federal Government wants to tell Nigerians the truth and end the killing spree.

Key observation by BHIU revealed that “They started as artisanal and small scale miners, but today, they have grown and graduated to mining mafias with strong connections and links with veiled foreign buyers and few local collaborators who exchange gold with either arms or foreign currency.

“Zamfara is rich in gold and Federal Government’s quietness in assuming full official control in exploring gold across the country has empowered locals in each state of the resource to take over with little or nothing accruing to the Federal Government.

BHIU discovered that “Whenever their foreign collaborators intercepts security signals, they zoom off to neighbouring Niger Republic, Togo or Benin through the porous borders either via Zuru and Ngaski near Yauri after leaving Gausu through Jega town along Sokoto Road.

“On the other hand, blood gold mined in Zamfara is routinely smuggled out of the state to ready markets across the Northwest borders.

“The blood gold is wrapped or packaged on rustled cows and herded across the still porous borders to neighboring Togo, Benin and Niger to the waiting markets powered by foreigners across the world. This process makes Nigeria gain nothing and further leaves the state to remain in perpetual poverty and underdevelopment.

“Attacks happen whenever a blood gold gang feels displaced, threatened or in dire need of access to a newly identified rich mine. In fact the semi-war has taken the shape of drug wars in major Mexican cities or ghetto regions of Columbia,” a senior citizen who stayed with BHIU team at a Yauri hotel revealed without knowing the questioner’s identity or why he was asked.

Though the major issue of research timeline did not include killing tactics or statistics but reasons behind the attacks, BHIU observed that major towns already traumatized include but not limited to Kayayi village in Shinkafi local government, Ajia and Wonaka in Birnin Magaji local government, Tungar Kolo to all the Kara markets in Zamfara, Yan Taskuwa to Kucheri and others, chances are that the killing may not stop until a regulatory Commission on solid minerals with high global value like gold and other precious stones are created by an Act of parliament with strong monitoring and compliance force.

Analysts say the order by Federal Government to foreign miners in Zamfara State to leave within 48 hours on Sunday and immediate suspension of mining activities in the state to curb the activities of armed bandits, may provide ephemeral relief but not the solution after all.

Federal Government who had been aware of the Zamfara killings in the last few years only gave the order following a weekend attack that killed about 50 persons in the state.

However, Business Hilights gathered that the IGP will visit Zamfara today (Tuesday) to observe level of compliance on his order halting any form of mining pending further notice on full return of security normalcy.

(*Note: BHIU, an independent division of Business Hilights Publications, can carry out on demand, any kind of business related investigations and researches both open and undercover for clients across the globe at a fee.)

Business Hilights is an online news channel conceptualized and structured to report and track on a daily basis; latest developments in critical business sectors to serve as a one stop news gateway for governments, foreign and indigenous investors.