Am confused when FG said it withdrew illegal gold mining licenses in Zamfara—Yerima
Whereas well over 31 Nigerians were Monday gunned down by Zamfaran bandits who released a new video announcing their resistance upon all military operations to oust them, President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (ATCF), Shetima Yerima has reacted to trending issues bordering on why Gold, one of the costliest natural resources even more than crude oil is not captured in the exclusive list of the revenue yielding recourses of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Before now, many Nigerians have queried why the Federal Government left gold mining upon its international value in the hands of states without any known agency or commission in charge, thus giving rooms for charlatans and bandits to take charge at a time the same government is running from pillar to post in search of revenue and borrowing.
For record purpose, gold is found in large commercial quantity in states like, Abuja, Kebbi, Abia, Zamfara, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Edo, Osun, Kaduna, but no administration had found it worthy to set up an agency while in crude oil exploration alone, there are over five agencies enmeshed in duplication of duties and quantum yearly allocation of funds.
However, reacting in an interview question on the above, Yerima said “I thank God that they admitted the fact that it was illegal mining”.
“Illegal mining and you threaten to withdraw their licences? Who does that? How does one marry the two, illegal miners and licenses?
“Well, I recall the governor saying that those guys are illegal miners and it could be that proper arrangements have not been put in place. That could be one of the agenda of the government to look for other means of improving and generating revenue for the country.
“If that is what they are planning to do for the country, they should be encouraged to do so, but, not under this setting of these funny characters that we have as ministers.
“Certainly, there must be a total reorganisation of the sector and also, the governors must also begin to harness some of these resources. Beyond mining, there are also other mineral resources in other parts of the country.
“We must be seen to do it right. We should have resources. That is why some of us believe strongly that we cannot continue to run a government where everything lies in Abuja. The powers in Abuja are so much that every state is looking up to Abuja to provide for it. We must reduce the burden of the central government and give some to the regions or even the states, so that all of them will begin to harness their resources.
“At the end of the day, if it is the issue of tax, let there be agreement between the state and the Federal Government, so that, at the end of the day, it will go into law.
“There are certain percentages generated from certain states that will go to the Federal Government for the running of other activities, while the states will also have its own resources to run its projects and programmes. At the end of the day, if people find themselves in the central that has been decentralised, a lot of these states will become more vibrant, more functional and there will be serious competition and then, you will begin to see everything moving in the north.
Yerima decried that “If we are allowed to continue the way we are, whereby everything goes to the centre and the states will have to go to the centre to provide and source for allocation for them, then you can be rest assured that these governors will continue to be lazy and they will not do anything”.