Some communities in the Shiroro local government area of Niger state are said to currently live in fear and anxiety over the influx of illegal artisanal miners into their villages.
The miners added to more than 1,000 have allegedly taken over four communities in the area.
They allegedly operate out of sites located in the Shakwata and Navi communities in the Gwada district of the Shiroro council.
It was deduced that this situation has created fear in people who see strange faces on a daily basis, especially with the increase in the activities of bandits and other criminal elements in parts of the council.
Speaking about the situation, council president Suleiman Chukuba said the influx of artisanal miners has further worsened the already deteriorating security problem facing the area.
It should be recalled that Chukuba had recently raised the alarm that some 500 communities in the local government are currently under the control of bandits and the feared Boko Haram insurgents.
The president told Newslodge that the current security challenges in Zamfara, Katsina and other parts of the northwestern states may not be disconnected from illegal mining activities, hence the need for the government to take proactive measures.
The artisanal miners have turned the place into their own communities. People’s farmlands are being turned into mining sites and so there will surely be resistance from them. If this happens, there will certainly be a breakdown of law and order. Therefore, we must be proactive as a government not to face another unpleasant situation that could be worse than banditry, ”argued Chukuba.
He revealed that the situation has been reported to the police and other sister security agencies in the state and that steps have already been taken to address it quickly.
“Our hands are already full of Banditry challenges in the area and we cannot afford to have another one,” he lamented.