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OPINION

Zamfara Gold: Group commends Gov Mattawalle, Says “Those attacking him are beneficiaries illegal mining”

A socio-political group, the One Nigeria Movement (ONM) has accused
beneficiaries of illegal mining in Zamfara State of trying to mislead
Nigerians on the State Governor,  Bello Mattawale’s noble innitiatite
of engaging in the business of buying gold directly so as to block
armed bandits’ major source of fund.

According to a statement on Sunday, by its Convener General, Ahmed
Sodiq-Mugoro and Secretary, Babatunde Aliyu, ONM, which said it was
not true that Zamfara State government was mining gold in the State,
noted that those behind the attacks on the governor were only doing so
because they were being made to lose the source of their illicit
wealth.

The group said the question Nigerians should ask those behind the
attack on the governor are; “Were people not mining and selling gold
in Zamfara State before now? Why all these attacks on the governor
just because he is trying to do what is right by exposing what has
been happening in the State?”

The group said what the Zamfara State government was simply doing is
to use its own fund to buy gold so as to prevent the miners from
selling to armed bandits,  who in turn use the gold to exchange for
arms and ammunition.

“The reality Governor Metawalle has brought to the attention of
Nigerians is that despite the ban on mining, people did not stop from
doing illegal mining and it was the major source of fund for bandits.

“From the day the governor exposed this by taking the gold to
President Muhammadu Buhari and letting Nigerians see what the State
has,  why has banditry come down drastically in the Northwest?”

Speaking further,  ONM said: “Zamfara State government under Governor
Bello Mattawale, is not cornering the resources belonging to the
entire federation of Nigeria, far from it.

“Rather,  the State Government is investing its own money to bring
sanity to the mining sector, provide jobs and most importantly,
eradicate banditry.

“Before now,  what was happening was the bandits forcing the miners to
sell gold to them at like N5,000 per gram while the bandits take the
gold to the end users and sell at as much as N20,000 per gram.  In
most cases,  they use the gold in exchange for arms and ammunition.

“It is like using one stone to kill more than two birds and since this
initiative started,  Nigerians can notice a drastic reduction in
activities of the bandits in the Northwest now and it is hoped that
they will fizzle out the moment they no longer have means of getting
arms.

“For this,  it is our opinion that Governor Matawalle deserves to be
commended. But we understand the plight of those orchestrating the
attacks against the governor. They are those who are showing anger
because the source of their illicit wealth has been exposed and we are
sure the governor won’t be distracted.”

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