Zamfara State in Nigeria, plagued by rampant banditry and criminal activities linked to illegal mining, has taken a firm stance against unauthorized mining operations. Governor Lawal Dauda has issued a directive to ban illegal mining and has instructed law enforcement agencies to take decisive action against those who violate this ban.
The governor’s spokesperson, Sulaiman Bala Idris, emphasized that this move signifies the end of an era of unlawful activities in the state, according to SolaceBase.
It aims to safeguard the well-being of Zamfara’s residents, including men, women, and schoolchildren, who have suffered abductions and other atrocities due to the unchecked illegal mining activities.
Sulaiman Bala Idris stated, “The directive is necessary to ensure the safety and security of the good people of Zamfara and deter potential wrongdoers from committing such acts. It is also a swift action to enable the State Government to be in total control of state resources and block activities that endanger the lives and properties of the people.
Illegal mining is undeniably one of the driving forces behind the rampant banditry plaguing Zamfara State. We must take swift, decisive action to curb this menace and restore peace and security to our communities.”
According to Human Rights Watch, Zamfara is renowned for its mineral wealth, particularly gold deposits. However, human rights organizations have revealed a dark side to this wealth. Since 2010, acute lead poisoning linked to artisanal gold mining has claimed the lives of over 400 children, with more than 3,500 children affected.
Adults have also been impacted, with a high incidence of infertility and miscarriages among women. This crisis is primarily a result of small-scale gold mining conducted with rudimentary tools, which releases lead-contaminated dust into the environment.
Zamfara’s crackdown on illegal mining seeks to address not only the security concerns but also the severe health hazards and environmental damage associated with these unregulated activities.