The Federal Government has ordered foreign miners in Zamfara State to leave within 48 hours. It also announced the suspension of mining activities in the state to curb the activities of armed bandits.
The move followed an attack that killed about 50 persons in the state at the weekend.
Briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Acting Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu warned that foreign miners who violate the order would have their licences withdrawn.
He said investigations had established a link between the activities of the bandits and illicit miners and that security forces would be dispatched to the state.
The IGP’s statement was entitled, ‘Security Situation In Zamfara And Neighboring States, Police, Military and DSS Intensify Joint Operations Against Bandits, FG Suspends All Mining Activities In Zamfara And Its Environs.’
It reads: “As part of sustained efforts to flush out, and permanently put an end to armed banditry and criminality in Zamfara State, in particular, and the northwest in general, the Nigeria Police Force in collaboration with the Nigerian Military and other security services has commenced ‘Operation Puff-Adder’, which is a full-scale security offensive against the bandits.
“The operation is aimed at reclaiming every public space under the control of the bandits, arrest and bring to book all perpetrators of violence in the area and their collaborators, achieve a total destruction of all criminal camps and hideouts, mop up all illicit weapons fuelling the violence and attain a full restoration of law and order in the affected communities.
“Our commitment at protecting the sanctity of life and property is irrevocable, and we will not scale down the pressure on the bandits until they are totally flushed out.
“Meanwhile, in the face of intelligence report that has clearly established a strong and glaring nexus between the activities of bandits and illicit miners – with both mutually re-enforcing each other – the Federal Government of Nigeria has directed as follows:
“Mining activities in Zamfara and other affected states are hereby suspended with immediate effect. Consequently, any mining operator who engages in mining activities in the affected locations henceforth will have his licence revoked.
“All foreigners operating in the mining fields should close and leave within 48 hours. I want to assure the general public, especially in the affected areas, that the security services are doing their best to address the situation.
“May I appeal for the cooperation of the local communities, especially the traditional and religious leaders within the community.”
Meanwhile, Buhari said that his administration was determined to crush the bandits killing innocent citizens in Zamfara State, adding that it was ridiculous for anybody to say that he wasn’t moved by the killings.
He also appealed to some people whom he accused of politicising the killings to stop doing so.