Not fewer than 31 foreign nationals have been deported from Zamfara State for engaging in illegal mining.
Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle, disclosed this yesterday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari over the recent bandits’ attack in his state which left 20 people dead.
Speaking to State House correspondents, he said most of the illegal miners are not Nigerians but with the support of the army, police and other security agencies in the state, some of them were apprehended and repatriated to their respective countries.
“We have deported 11 Chinese and over 20 from Burkina Faso and Mali. You know we have the problem of a very porous border particularly from Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Niger Republic,” the governor stated.
On why he met with the president, he said, “I came to brief Mr. President on the current security situation in the state. After the disbandment of SARS we had some challenges, particularly day before yesterday about 20 people were killed in a local government.
“So, I am soliciting for Mr. President to intervene and see how we can have more security personnel to secure the state’s territory. I also informed him about some illegal miners’ activities and taking place in the state.
“We have been able to form committee, a task force on illegal mining, so that they can go round the state and fish out those behind the illegal mining activities.
“Most of the illegal miners are not Nigerians but with the support of army, police and other security agencies in the state, some of them were apprehended and repatriated to their respective countries. Those were the two issues we discussed with Mr. President.”
Matawalle noted that foreigners used to cross the borders freely to the state, adding however that some measures had been taken by the Nigeria Immigration Services to check the porous border.
He said, “I know they have put some measures in this border to checkmate the movement of other nationals into Nigeria. I am confident that very soon we won’t have the problem of other nationals illegally come into our country anymore.
“Still on the gold mine, what we are doing now with the task force that will be put in place to check illegal miners, I think the central government needs to do something and put measures in place to harness these untapped mineral resources in the state. As you are aware, the ministry of solid minerals is working hard with genuine workable document that will benefit both the state and federal government”.
The governor further said the disbanded Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) had helped in tackling banditry in the state.
He disclosed that he sought the president’s assistance on deployment of more security personnel to the state.
According to him, the state didn’t experience the highhandedness of the SARS personnel.
He said, “To me, in Zamfara State, SARS are doing very well because they are tracking those criminals and prosecuting them, particularly those in the high area. SARS has the capacity to track and bring them to justice.
“So, in Zamfara State we are in need of SARS, we know with their presence we have experienced peace in the state.”
Matawalle also disclosed that President Buhari directed his chief of staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, to liaise with the relevant agencies.
His words: “He directed the chief of staff to the president to take measures to connect with other relevant government agencies that we have discussed with about the issue of security.
“So, the chief of staff will contact the army, police and other security agencies to mobilize more security to the state with immediate effect.”