Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State says President Muhammadu Buhari has given a directive for the deployment of security agents to his state, following the killing of 20 persons in Talata Mafara local government area.
Governor Matawalle, who said this on Friday while fielding questions from State House reporters after a meeting with President Buhari, said the killing happened after the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The governor also revealed that not less than 30 illegal miners from China, Burkina Faso, and Mali had been repatriated to their respective countries.
Matawalle, while speaking on the motive behind his visit to the President, said: “I came to brief Mr President on the current security situation in the state. After the disbandment of SARS, we had some challenges, particularly [Thursday], about 20 people were killed in a local government. So, I am soliciting for Mr President’s intervention and see how we can have more security personnel to secure the state’s territory.
“I also informed him about some illegal mining activities taking place in the state. We have been able to form committee, a task force on illegal mining so that they can go round the state and fish out those behind the illegal mining activities.
“Most of the illegal miners are not Nigerians but with the support of army, police and other security agencies in the state, some of them were apprehended and repatriated to their respective countries.
“Those were the two issues we discussed with Mr. President.”
The governor, while speaking on the President’s response, said: “He (President Buhari) directed the chief of staff to take measures to connect with other relevant government agencies that we have discussed with about the issue of security. So, the chief of staff will contact the army, police and other security agencies to mobilize more security to the state with immediate effect.”
The governor, who said the activities of illegal miners were aided by the porous border from Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Niger Republic, expressed optimism that the measures taken by Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) would curb the heinous act.
He said: “We have deported 11 Chinese and over 20 from Burkina Faso and Mali. You know we have the problem of a very porous border particularly from Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Niger Republic. People use to cross freely but with the measures that have been taken by Nigeria Immigration Service, I know they have put some measures in this border to checkmate the movement of other nationals into Nigeria. I am confident that very soon we won’t have the problem of other nationals illegally come into our country anymore.
“Still on the gold mine, what we are doing now with the task force that will be put in place to check illegal miners, I think the central government needs to do something and put measures in place to harness the untapped mineral resources in the state. As you are aware, the ministry of solid minerals is working hard with genuine workable document that will benefit both the state and federal government.”
Matawalle said the operatives of the disbanded SARS aided the restoration of peace and order in Zamfara State.
He said: “To me, in Zamfara State, SARS are doing very well because they are tracking those criminals and prosecuting them, particularly those in the high area, SARS has the capacity to track and bring them to justice. So, to me, in Zamfara State we are in need for SARS, we know with their presence we have experienced peace in the state.”
When asked to explain the reason why he was not opposed to the SARS that was disbanded because of extortion, rape and extra judicial killings, Matawalle said: “I am not saying it must be SARS, whatever name will be given to it, we want them in our state. We did not experience any of those things they did that caused them to be disbanded in my state.”