President aspirant, Jaye Gaskia, says artisanal mining have further fueled the level of insecurity in Zamfara state.
Mr. Jaye, who said this in a chat with Blueprint in Abuja, said that the peculiar nature of artisanal mining in the state makes many of them vulnerable to attacks by rural bandits.
The meeting hosted by Global Rights has as its theme: “Translating the ECOWAS mining directive and other regional instruments within the context of business and human rights agency,” “Armed banditry in the North is about cattle rustling and stealing of other type of life stocks from farmers.
And you have a situation where you have several mines with artisanal miners many of who are migrants, and therefore are vulnerable, and who would have some form of properties.
If you have criminals already operating in that kind of context, they become easy targets in terms of their exposure.
And then, of course, for the so called rural bandits; these targets are also very viable in the sense that they will have some form of resources, if not unrefined mineral products, then proceeds from the sales,” he said.
To address the situation, he urged the government to intensify the process of registering the small time miners who form bulk of the operators in the sector.
The co-convener of Protest2Power movement noted that the idea of giving artisanal miners incentives that will encourage them to register is not the solution as it might not achieve the desired purpose.
According to him, “One of the ways in which we can actually overcome this challenge is if we had proper national identification scheme in place, if every state in the federation had a proper residency scheme in place so that you a national identification number and also a residency card.
Once you are able to do that it becomes much easier to get everybody and their respective trade also registered.” Earlier in his keynote address at the National roundtable on Business and Human Rights, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr.
Abdulkadir Muazu, assured stakeholders that the government will continue to promote and protect human rights in the mining sector in line with the Nigerian Mineral and Mining Act, 2007.
He said: “We are mindful of the need to improve economic and social justice within the communities in decision making processes with regard to mineral exploitation as part of an efficient conflict prevention policy and strategy.” While noting the numerous challenges confronting the sector, the Permanent Secretary said “Relevant technical department have been strengthened for better performance in terms of logistics and staff capacity for effective control in the mines.
“There have been increases in the number of Community Development Agreements signed between Mining Companies and their host communities which translated to increase in infrastructure and improved socioeconomic development within the mining host communities,” he further said.