The Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle has presented gold bars and an assortment of precious stones, products of Zamfara to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The presentation was done on Monday night at the State House, Abuja. The president was grateful for the gesture by Governor Bello.
Zamfara State has the highest gold deposits Nigeria and the state is also known for eight other minerals which are in commercial quantity.
The illegal mining of the minerals has been linked to the wave of killings and banditry in the state.
In April 2019, the Nigerian Government banned mining in Zamfara state, as police considered illegal mining to be behind the spree of violence and kidnapping in the region at the time.
The northwestern state has experienced periods of significant violence in recent years, with gang rivalry and cattle theft among the reasons for these conflicts, which were estimated to have claimed at least 3,000 lives in 2018 alone.
While the proposed actions aimed to reduce the violence in the state, it was unlikely to address existing problems with the Zamfara State mining sector, most notably safety.
A Human Rights Watch report found that since 2010, acute lead poisoning, caused by the processing of ore in or near homes, affected more than 3,500 children, killing at least 400.
The group found that the lead concentration in the atmosphere of some homes reached 23,000 parts per million, well above the 400 parts per million thresholds considered safe.
In January 2020, nearly after a year after the Nigerian Government banned the unauthorized mining of mineral resources in Zamfara State, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, assured Nigerians that the mining operations would re-start mining in the region.
According to Adegbite, the government planned to remove the ban by the end of the first quarter of 2020, in order to pave way for “genuine investors” who want to invest in the mines. Some of these investors already have stakes in the region.