Niger State Police Command has arrested over 100 artisan miners out of about 1,000 of them who took over four communities in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state with their operational site at Shakwata and Navi communities in Gwada district, PPRO of the state police has said
Their activities follow the ban on all forms of mining activities in Zamfara and Katsina states occasioned by the security challenges in the areas.
The people of the areas expresses, fear and anxiety, over the influx of strange faces into their communities on a daily basis, especially with rising banditry, and ‘declining insecurity’ activities in parts of the local government.
It would be recalled that the Chairman of the Council, Mallam Suleiman Chukuba, recently during an interview raised the alarm that about 500 communities in the local government are currently under the control of bandits and some elements of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents.
The influx of these artisan miners, Chukuba said, will further worsen the already deteriorating security situation in the area, stressing that the current security situation in Zamfara, Katsina and other parts of northwest is connected with illegal mining activities in these states.
The Chairman while confirming the development in his council disclosed that the miners have turned the place into a community of its own with collosal damage to farmlands.
“This development. if not immediately checked, will metamorphose into something worse than banditry. Now that the people’s farmlands are being turned into mining sites, there will surely be resistance from them.
“If this happens, there will certainly be a breakdown of law and order. We, therefore, need to be proactive as a government so as not to be confronted with another ugly situation that might be worse than banditry.
“We have, therefore, reported the development to the police and other sister security agencies in the state and action is already been taken to quickly nip the situation in the bud. Our hands are already full with challenges from banditry in the area and we cannot afford to have another one”, he added.
Already over 100 arrests have been made by the joint security agents who stormed the illegal mining sites following complaints by the affected communities over the influx of strange faces and their illegal activities which they said pose a great danger to the area.
The Police Public Relation Officer of the state command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun confirmed that the police had actually received complaints from the communities over the activities of some artisan miners in the area, but said the Police will issue an official statement to that effects soon.
The PPRO, however, confirmed that some arrests have been made by the joint security operatives though he said investigation is still ongoing by the Police.