Mining revenue at risk after 363 community attacks

Mining communities suffered at least 363 casualties in different attacks and clashes from 2016 to 2022, a tally compiled by the punch showed.

Victims include those killed, kidnapped or injured in attacks and clashes at mine sites, communities and miners across the country.

The figures were obtained from daily incidents recorded by the Nigeria Security Tracker, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations, a US think tank, during the period under review.

The data available on the tracker covers from November 2016 to June 2022.

In November 2016, gunmen were reported to have killed 40 gold miners in Zamfara. Also in the same month and year, gunmen killed a Chinese miner and three others in Nasarawa.

In 2017, chaos erupted in Plateau and around 10 deaths were recorded in clashes between illegal miners in February.

Also in February, another person was killed in a new attack on a mining site in the Plateau.

Suspected shepherds invaded the Plateau community and injured five illegal miners in June, and in November gunmen attacked local miners in Plateau and injured four.

In December, around 15 people were reportedly killed as police and suspected illegal miners clashed in Taraba.

In 2018 bandits attacked the village of Kaduna and killed 14 miners in April. In September, gunmen killed five people at a mining site in the Plateau.

Also in September but in 2019, 16 miners were kidnapped in Kaduna and the chairman of Kogi miners was also kidnapped.

In November, unknown gunmen allegedly killed a security guard at a mining site in Osun.

Three killed in clashes between Yoruba and Hausa in the mining community of Osun in December. In 2020, gunmen hit Plateau, killing a miner, a farmer and five others in May.

In July, two miners were killed in Niger and in September shepherds attacked local miners and injured nine in Plateau.

In December, a Chinese expatriate and a worker were killed in a dispute at the Osun mine site.

In 2021, gunmen killed police officers and abducted three Chinese people at the Osun mine site in February.

In March bandits abducted more than 100 miners and killed 10 in Zamfara, and in April gunmen killed eight people at a mining site in the Plateau.

In January 2022, gunmen killed four Plateau mine workers, and in February, gunmen killed a miner and three commuters in Plateau.

In June this year, bandits abducted four Chinese nationals, killed 34 soldiers, eight policemen and six civilians at the Niger mine site. It was also reported that 50 gunmen were killed by soldiers.

Although recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed an increase in mineral production in Nigeria in 2021, states like Plateau, Osun and Zamfara were not among the top mineral producing states, which could be due to the high number of attacks.

In March last year, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retired), endorsed the recommendation to halt mining activities in Zamafara while declaring a no-fly zone over the state.

Last month, it was reported that the federal government was considering banning the use of motorcycles and mining activities following the terrorist attacks on Kuje Correctional Facility on July 5 as well as others recorded across the country. country.

Industry players, under the auspices of the Miners Association of Nigeria, at a recent press briefing in Abuja, stressed the need for the government to address the issue of growing insecurity rather than to prohibit mining activities.

Acting MAN National Chairman Musa Muhammad at the press conference said: “While this association consents to the notion and reality of the embarrassing trend of national insecurity and the dire need for fight headlong, especially since the sector that feels the heat of insecurity more than any other sector, it is important for the public to know that mining is neither a precursor to national insecurity nor its support.