By Victor Arjiromanus
Zamfara State government has denied ownership of gold found in the state over time, this it said to be against several mis information of the public by the elites inside and outside Niger Delta areas who are supposed to inform the general public concerning government issues.
The government which spoke through the Governor’s Special Adviser on Public Enlightenment, Media, and Communication, Zailani Bappa, said that it is unfortunate that the elites who were hitherto illegally mining the gold in the state, have turned around to give the government a bad name by mis-informing the general public about the position of ownership of gold found in the state.
In a release made available to the press over the weekend, Bappa took time off to address the issue on behalf of the government.
“The hatchet jobbers are it again,’ he stated, “They are our enemies, the enemies of unity and togetherness. They are shouting war where there is peace; they are drumming the beat of discord through the spread of fake news and sponsoring commentators to fuel its effect. Unfortunately, even some state Governors have joined the war mongering against their colleague, the Zamfara State Governor, Dr Bello Matawalle. These elites cornered the gold in Zamfara state for themselves, their kith and kins and their crannies. They have exploited it illegally and have short-changed Nigeria and its people. They tried to cover their nefarious activities by fuelling banditry in the state to take away the attention of all. They used the proceeds of gold to import arms and institutionalize banditry in the state.
“However upon Governor Bello Matawalle’s arrival, he met this illegal mining in the state and clamped down on all their illegal activities and revolutionized the mining sector in the state. They lost out and started accusing him of attempting to “own” the gold deposits in his state which is the ownership of the Federal Government. They also accused him and the Central Bank of illegal transaction in the resource.
Bappa went further to say that, it has never been the interest of Governor Matawalle to trade in gold or make the state government to own the gold in Zamfara state! The gold reserve in Zamfara state is under the exclusive list and is still owned by the Federal Government. Governor Bello Mohammed has never claimed ownership of the reserve or its exploit. The Federal Government is currently undergoing the process of licensing of companies empowered by the Federal Government to mine the gold on its behalf.
“The agreement entered in with the central Bank of Nigeria, is not to trade in Gold, but to exploit the areas of boosting the mining sector in the state under the Anchor-Borrower scheme which, just like the Agricultural sector, is within the purview of the apex Bank. The bank will invest the sum of N5 billion for the state to supply it with gold as a proceeds of the investment over time. The question is how can the state government acquire this gold? Many interpret this as a claim on the gold reserve by the state government. What the state government intends to do under this arrangement is to purchase the gold from these companies and supply it to the Central Bank, which is straightforward and simple.”
Bappa went on to clarify that the gold that Governor Bello Matawalle presented to the government, were those stolen by the elites earlier mined and ultimately meant to be traded outside the country by erstwhile miners before the ban which the Government realised were being sold across the borders for weapons. And weapons must no longer be allowed to enter Zamfara as freely as before.
He said the enemies of the unity of Nigeria are forever waiting around the corridors of power sniffing and looking for whatever they will use to destabilize the country for their own evil gains.
“Governor Matawalle is ready to uphold the dignity and sanctity of Nigerian laws and statutes and uphold properties belonging to Nigeria, than let those elite rats use banditry to consume them illegally. Gold in Zamfara ststate belongs to the Federal government,” he added.