Nigeria’s bloody solid minerals

By Valentine Amanze

In May 2012, Liberian former President Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison “for aiding and abetting as well as planning some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history”.
He is currently serving his sentence in a prison in the United Kingdom after the rejection of his application to be transferred to a Rwandan prison.
The former Liberian president used the “blood diamonds” to finance the six-year civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone between 1996 and 2012.
He was sentenced at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
But in Nigeria, unlike the case in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the whole world appears to have abandoned the self-acclaimed African giant to its fate. Crime has become the order of the day in a regime, which claims to be fighting corruption in the West African country.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had sometime said that some of the bandits terroring the country were not Nigerians. He spoke at the peak of the Boko Haram and herdsmen crises in Nigeria, without saying how they (foreigners) would be stopped.
It is nolonger news that the bandits are on the rampage in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and other states.
In Zamfara, they operate as if there is no government as they scramble to control Nigeria’s untapped and large solid mineral deposits and other natural resources.
The unofficial takeover of Nigeria’s solid mineral deposits calls for concern because the crude oil in the southern is in the hands of the Federal Government.
Last year, the Zamfara State Governor, Abdul'aziz Abubakar Yari, lamented and pleaded with the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government of Nigeria to declare emergence in Zamfara after being overwhelmed by the activities of the criminals, who not only mined the solid minerals illegally but also robbed, killed, raped and burnt villages.

Who are the sponsors?

Between 1996 and 2012 the international community fingered Charles Taylor as the major sponsor and benefactor of the Sierra Leonean killings. In Nigeria, no particular individual or group has been identified and convicted as the brain behind the lucrative illegal solid minerals business in the northern Nigeria.
But only recently, the Chairman, Zamfara State Council of Chiefs and Emir of Zamfara, Attahiru Muhammad, had refuted the accusation by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, that members of the council had been conniving with bandits in the state.
While denying the allegation, he accused the Defence minister of tarnishing the status of traditional rulers in the state and asked the minister to withdraw the accusation, which the emir described as baseless.
While passing the bulk has been the hallmark of the current administration, it will be noted that the N10 billion released recently to fight the crime may not be the solution. The Buhari administration has to be proactive on issues of urgent importance.
The response of the national security agencies on the Zamfara issue before now was not encouraging if one considers how smaller nations like Chad and Niger Republic respond to emergences like the one at hand.
For instance, the President of Chad, Idriss Deby, recently fired his armed forces chief of staff following the latest bout of unrest which culminated in a Boko Haram attack that left 23 dead.
Deby fired Brahim Seid Mahamat and his two deputies by presidential decree after six years in the post just hours after the attack in the southwest of the country.
The soldiers were killed after coming under attack from jihadists in the early hours in the deadliest attack on the Chadian military by Boko Haram.
But in Nigeria as typified with the Zamfara case, no government official has been sacked for deregulation of duty. No suspect has been arrested, while all the service chiefs have kept their offices as Nigerians are daily murdered in their own country.
Until the perpertrators of these crimes are arrested and punished along with their backers the present administration will continue to attract negative criticisms.

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