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‘Foreigners Exchange Arms for Gold in Zamfara’- Governor

NEWSMAN, Abuja- Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has hinted that foreigners come to the state to trade guns with locals for mineral resources.

Matawalle, while answering questions from State House reporters in Abuja on Tuesday after showing a pack of gold mined from the state to President Muhammadu Buhari canvassed the creation of a platform for the state government by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the federal government to be buying mined resources from small- scale miners in the state.

“It is very important to us as a government, particularly the issue of insecurity, to know the root cause of insecurity. Zamfara State is blessed with many mineral resources and some people outside the country come to buy gold and other precious stones and sometimes, instead of paying people, they pay back with arms. I did some investigations”, Matawalle said.

He added, “So, the state government will be buying some of these minerals so that we can block that chain. So, now, the state government is engaging the miners. We will be buying some of this gold from them with the limited resources we have.

According to him, foreign interests from South Africa and Russia will also be brought into the picture, Thisday reported.

He attributed the exchange of guns for minerals as a source of insecurity in the state, adding that the president promised to support the state wherever it is required.

He added that the president directed the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, to work with the state on the exploration of its mineral resources as part of the diversification agenda.

The governor stated that upon returning to the state, he would set up a committee to serve as the platform for patronage by the state, the federal government and the CBN.

On security, the governor deviated from popular opinions calling for the sacking of service chiefs, saying they should rather be supported.
According to him, security operatives deployed in the state are battling insecurity and have been able to contain killings in the state.

“As you had been hearing before, now the narration has changed. You won’t be hearing of mass killings in the state because the security (operatives) are doing their best. I equally advised the president that calling for the sacking of the service chiefs is not the solution”, Governor Matawalle said.

“Even if you sack them, you are bringing another one. So, let us use the one that we have. We will support them as a government. My state now is at peace and everybody is aware.

“We have more than 3,000 policemen going round the mining sites in order to protect the mining sites. We have security. It’s just for us as leaders to support them. I believe we will see a lot of changes in terms of security in this country,” he said.

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