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Zamfara Gold: You Lack Power to Proscribe Artisan Refiners, Aide Tells Buhari

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A political aide to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state, Comrade Ozobo Austin has told President Muhammadu Buhari he now lacks power to proscribe artisanal refineries in the Niger Delta region following the latter’s endorsement of illegal gold mining in Kebbi and Zamfara states in the North.

The foremost activist stated this in a press statement sent to Daily Report Nigeria, insisting the open endorsement of the illegal gold mining in the North has issued an automatic legalization of artisanal refineries in the Niger Delta.

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Ozobo asserted the ordering of the Central Bank of Nigeria to buy ₦5 billion worth of gold from Zamfara state by the federal government, despite prohibiting laws of state control of solid mineral resources, indicates that local refineries should be termed legal in the Niger Delta.

According to Ozobo, the federal government had unlawfully launched the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI) in Zamfara and Kebbi states, which is a comprehensive artisanal and small-scale gold mining development programme initiated in 2019 to foster the formalisation and integration of artisanal gold mining activities into Nigeria’s legal, economic, and institutional framework.

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He opined that a Presidential Artisanal Oil Refineries Development Initiative, PAORDI, should be erected for oil refiners in the Niger Delta as a comprehensive artisanal and small scale oil refining development programme, if Buhari is not biased.

He further revealed that the Federal government, in collaboration with the Kebbi State Government had already inaugurated the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining and Biometric Data Capture and Enrolment Exercise in Yauri Local Government Area of Kebbi in February this year.

The statement reads in part: “it should be noted that Federal government of Nigeria has lost the power to proscribe artisanal refinery operation in Niger Delta, so long the Federal government does not see anything wrong with illegal gold mining in Zamfara state”

“I made it clear in my recent interview with ActionAid international, an international organization, when its coordinator and other team members visited me in Warri during the weekend, While discussing other sundry issues, I draw my inference from Zamfara illegal gold deals by the Federal government”

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“The Federal government action on the Zamfara illegal gold mining has automatically legalized Niger Delta artisanal refineries. The Federal government who now ordered CBN to buy 5billion gold from Zamfara government, despite the prohibiting laws of state control of solid mineral resources, do not have power to declare Niger Delta artisanal refineries illegal”

“There is truly a saying that he that comes to equity must come with a clean hands. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. I told ActionAid international that my people will resist further attacks on our local oil refineries, except the Federal government do the needful by clamping down on Zamfara illegal gold dealers, make Zamfara gold a national cake and the proceeds shared among all federating states in the country”

“Our oil is no longer for all, if Zamfara gold is not for all. This is injustice of the highest order, and would be further resisted with all vehements”

“It should be noted again that since the military and the sectional government of Nigeria federation are okay with the illegal gold mining activities in Zamfara state, my people in Niger Delta should be equally allowed to go into local refining of crude oil without molestation”

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“Therefore, I call on Niger Delta governors, lawmakers and youth elites to support this campaign and demand for Niger Delta States control of state resources and continued to resist further destruction of local refineries in Niger Delta by the Federal government.”

The calls for resource control in the Niger Delta region recently took a heightened dimension following the federal government’s ordering of the CBN to pay Zamfara state a whooping ₦5 billion worth of gold for Nigeria.

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