November 26, 2022

The just-launched Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMDI) will positively impact on the security situation in most parts of the country.

The Kebbi State governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, who gave this assurance on Thursday after the launch of the PAGMDI by President Muhammed Buhari at the State House in Abuja, also said the initiative would eliminate illegality and criminality in the Solid Minerals sector.

Bagudu, who is the Vice Chairman of the PAGMDI steering committee, spoke to State House Correspondents during a post-ceremony briefing in the company of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite; Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah; and the Executive Secretary of the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF), Hajiya Fatima Shinkafi.

Recall that banditry and kidnapping in the North West states of Zamfara, Kebbi and Sokoto have been attributed to illegal mining.

According to Bagudu, many states including Kebbi have people in the artisanal good mining sector for decades but this is this first time they are being energized by a National Programme.

He noted that the initiative would ensure that miners are supported by a steering committee to include those artisanal miners that are eager to do their activities, but they have been doing so illegally, with health hazards to themselves, damage to the environment and because of illegality.

“Will this contribute to security, yes certainly, I have said that already most of the Artisanal miners because they are illegal and because they are producing something that is very precious and easy to transport.

So it attracts criminals and criminality but the PAGMDI process is now for formalizing them, recognizing them, providing them protection so that whosoever wants to participate, will register and get trained and participate and do it legitimately this will have a significant effect on insecurity in some places of the country particularly where mineral production including gold is taking place because it will provide them with safety and formalization.

“They are no longer criminals, they are no longer doing it illegally and the PAGMDI scheme is spending money in providing security for their operations,” he stated.

Also speaking, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Adegbite, said though there had been a lot of security instability as a result of mining activities, the federal government, under the Ministry, had created a security outfit for the protection of mines and miners

“We have what is called the Mines Police, for the surveillance of the mines sites. Yes, there have been a lot of insecurities due to mining. People struggling for mines, even some unscrupulous elements, especially foreigners who create instability so that they can have access to the gold unfettered. This, of course, is being tackled. This helps in its own way by organizing artisanal miners in those areas. Even outside those areas, we are tracking those illegal people,” he said.

Also speaking, Executive Secretary, Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF), Fatima Shinkafi, said the new initiative would strengthen the national Economy and impact on the individual homes.

She added that it is expected to attract private sector participation, saying “this is supposed to encourage private-sector-led investment. They have a space to participate in PAGMI and the laws and regulations are there. We will sensitize people together with the Ministry and the States, who have been very supportive as well.

“We have started a good journey towards improving the economy and we are moving at a very fast speed.

“I hope that this will translate into a better life, most importantly for the households that we intend to impact in terms of making better standards of living for individual families that we are supporting directly and indirectly with the artisanal miners,” she said.

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