Workers at a Mining Site in Nigeria

Insecurity: 100 miners kidnapped in Zamfara, ransom to bandits in several millions in Kaduna ─Emirs

*Licensed artisanal miners have been very helpful to Zamfara State’s economic growth, and they have played significant roles in ameliorating the hardship faced by IDPs in the state ─Attahiru Ahmad, Emir of Anka

*Despite increasing insecurity, the Federal Government will not engage foreign mercenaries in fighting Boko Haram terrorists, as the country has both the personnel and equipment to achieve victory over security challenges, says Babagana Monguno National Security Adviser

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As the Federal Government of Nigeria intensifies efforts at diversifying the economy by licensing small-scale miners to create wealth and boost economic prosperity in the country, Attahiru Ahmad, Emir of Anka in Zamfara State, has said that armed bandits abducted more than 100 artisanal miners operating between Anka and Maru Local Government Areas of the state March 2, 2021.

Ahmad, who is the Chairman of Zamfara State Council of Chiefs, disclosed this in Gusau, the state capital, Tuesday when Gen. Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), led the security service chiefs on an assessment visit to the North-West state, Channels TV report said.

The Emir explained that the incident took place when the state was focused on the rescue of the 279 students abducted February 26, from Government Girls’ Secondary School, Jangebe.

The bandits killed 10 persons during an invasion of a mining site in Zamfara, said the Emir.

Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd.), National Security Adviser

Ahmad: “The bandits have been attacking those involved in artisanal mining and carting away their money and property,” he said.

“There is a disconnect between miners and bandits in the state, so we were surprised when the declaration of ‘no-fly zone’ was recently slammed on our state over suspected arms supply and illegal mining when the state does not even have an airport.

“We know that there are states with more security challenges than Zamfara, and we expected that if such order would be issued, it should also cover such states.

He likewise said: “Our artisanal miners, who are licensed, have been very helpful to the state’s economic growth and they have played significant roles in ameliorating the hardship faced by IDPs in the state by supporting them.”

Meanwhile, the traditional ruler has requested the deployment of more security operatives to the state, and he commended the peace initiative of the Zamfara State Government.

He noted: “The peace and dialogue initiative of our governor has become necessary because, at the moment, we have less than 5,000 security men fighting over 30,000 bandits.”

Ahmad for synergy among security operatives to ensure success in the fight against insecurity in Zamfara.

Payment to bandits in hundreds of millions of Naira

Likewise, Ambassador Ahmed Bamali, Emir of Zazzau, and Alhaji Zubairu Maigwari II, Emir of Birnin-Gwari, have revealed that stated their subjects have paid hundreds of millions as ransom to bandits.

It was learnt the traditional rulers spoke at the presentation of 2020 security reports to Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, in Kaduna.

Maigwari said: “It is terrible when you see 200 to 300 bandits with weapons surrounding a village, and killing people and collecting their money. Our people paid hundreds of millions of Naira as ransom.”

Though commending the security forces, Emir Bamali also stated: “We still have challenges in Zaria, Giwa because after 6pm some areas become no go area. There are other dangerous places.”

Chief Dominic Yahaya, traditional ruler of Zangon-Kataf, Agwatyap, noted when perpetrators are arrested and taken to the Police, we don’t know what happened afterwards.

Nigeria won’t engage foreign mercenaries to fight against terrorists ─Monguno

In view of the widespread security challenges in Nigeria in recent times, however, the Federal Government has ruled out possibility of engaging foreign mercenaries in the fight against insurgents and other forms of insecurity in different parts of the country.

The government noted that negotiating with terrorists and bandits is not one of its plans to secure the country, according to report.

Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd.), National Security Adviser (NSA), who disclosed this at the weekly ministerial briefing at the State House Thursday, March 11 in Abuja, FCT, said the government would rather deploy all necessary forces to eliminate criminals.

On renewed calls on the Federal Government to engage foreign mercenaries in fighting Boko Haram terrorists, the Minister stressed that Nigeria has both the personnel and equipment to achieve victory over these internal security challenges.

Monguno stated: “The President’s view and directive is that we will not engage mercenaries when we have our own people to deal with these problems.

“We have the personnel and resources, and the President has given a new lease of life to the Armed Forces.”

As regards negotiations with bandits, kidnappers, insurgents and other categories of criminals, the NSA ruled out negotiating with criminals.

He, nonetheless, said the government would not succumb to blackmail and the use of criminals by proxies to harass innocent citizens.

It would rather deploy all necessary force to eliminate criminals, noted Monguno.

“While government is not averse to talking with these entities, it also has to fully apply its weight.

“You can’t (negotiate) with people who are unreliable and who will continue to hurt society. We will apply the full weight of the government to deal with these criminals.

“We must deal with them the way they need to be dealt with. We will fully assert the government’s will,” said he.

The NSA added:  “We are also focusing on the associated dimensions of the banditry and terrorism: Illegal drugs, the flow of small arms & light weapons, and Illegal mining in places like Zamfara.

“These are some of the scenarios fuelling the violence, and we are already tackling them decisively.”

Kindly Share This Story