By Nkasi Kolie
Following the ban on all forms of mining activities in Zamfara and Katsina states occasioned by the security challenges in the areas, Artisan miners from all walks of life have invaded some communities in Shiroro local government area of Niger state.
The Artisan miners said to be numbering over 1,000 have taken over about four communities in the local government with their operational site at Shakwata and Navi communities in Gwada district of Shiroro local government area.
Fear, apprehension and anxiety have therefore gripped the people of the affected communities due to the influx of strange faces into their communities on a daily bases, especially with rising banditry activities in parts of the local government.
It will be recalled that the Chairman of the Council, Mallam Suleiman Chukuba,recently raised 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, the Chairman believed will further worsen the already deteriorating security situation in the area, stressing that the current security situation in Zamfara, Katsina and other parts of north west was not unconnected with illegal mining activities in these states.
The Chairman while confirming the recent development in his council to our correspondent in Minna, that the invading Artisan miners have turned the place to a communities of its own with a monumental damage to farm lands.
According to Chukuba , this development if not immediately checked, will metamorphose to something worse than banditry, adding that “now that the people’s farm lands are being turned to mining site, there will surely be resistance from them.
“If this happens, there will certainly be break down 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 taking to quickly nip the situation in the bud. Our hands are already full with challenges from banditry in the area and we can not afford to have another one”, he added.
Already over 100 arrest have been made by the Joint Security agents who stormed the illegal mining sites following complains by the affected communities over the influx of strange faces and their illegal activities which they said poses a great danger to the area.
When contacted, the Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) of the state command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun confirmed that the police had actually received complains 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.
He also confirmed that some arrests have been made by the Joint Security Operatives even though he said investigation was still ongoing by the police.