Some foreigners trading firearms with gold - Matawalle

Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara, says some foreigners are exchanging arms for gold in the state.

Zamfara is one of the states where there is a high level of insecurity in the country.

Speaking with reporters after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, Matawalle said one of the measures his administration will take to check the illegal trade is to buy some of the resources after they have been mined.

“It is very important to us as a government to know the root cause of insecurity. Zamfara state is blessed with many mineral resources and some people outside the country come in to buy gold and other precious stones and sometimes instead of paying people, they pay back with arms,” he said.

“The state government will be buying some of these minerals so that we can block that chain.

“So now the state government is engaging the miners, we will be buying some of these gold from them with the limited resources we have.

“We have cases of guns running in Zamfara state. Mr. President is very happy with the system we have initiated and he said whatever support that we need, the federal government is ready to assist us, in fact he has given directive to the minister of solid minerals to work with the state government to make Nigeria a great country in terms of solid minerals, diversify from oil to solid mineral resources.”

The governor said miners in Zamfara should be supported so they can benefit from the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI).

He added that he told the president that the removal of service chiefs is not the solution to the widespread insecurity in the country.

“I told the president that all those are calling for the sack of the security chiefs should think of the best way to support them to perform better instead of sacking them, even if you sack them, you are bringing another one, so let us use the one that we have, we will support them as a government, my state now is at peace and everybody is aware,” he said.

“We have more than 3,000 policemen going round the mining sites in order to protect the mining site. We have the security agencies, it’s just for us as leaders to support them.”

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