Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Former Governor of Zamfara State, Ahmad Sani Yerima, has asserted that those involved in acts of banditry are doing so because of poverty as well as ignorance.
This is coming off his earlier remarks asking the Federal Government to engage in negotiations with bandits as a way of eradicating the abduction, killings and incursions plaguing parts of the North.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, Senator Yerima insisted that proper education would have dissuaded them from engaging in the nefarious act in the first place.
“No educated person, Christian Muslim, Jew or Hindu who is in his right state of mind and has something to do and does not have a poverty problem that will take up arms and kill an innocent person.”
“The major problem facing these people is poverty and ignorance,” Yerima said when quizzed about the reason for the growing case of banditry.
Speaking further, the former Deputy Minority Leader of the Senate also claimed that the previous governments had failed to address the plights of the bandits
“In the past various state government have not taken care of them, and the cattle routes and forest reserves left for them have been taken over by farmers,” he said.
Nothing To Do With Gold Mining
Senator Yerima was quick to debunk speculations that the presence of natural resources such as gold played a major part in the rise of banditry in his state
“This has always been there and the illegal mining that is going on there is of a very small scale; artisan mining.”
“We don’t have any industry or any large-scale or medium-scale mining going on in the state. People are just talking about it but we have solid minerals in the Northern part of Nigeria but that is not the cause at all,” he said.
“The Federal government’s previous administration banned all sorts of mining in Nigeria because they are all illegal.”
On his successor, Bello Matawalle’s assertion that bandits were involved in the commerce of gold for firearms and ammunition, Yerima said ” I think he just said it.”
“When I saw him presenting gold to Mr Pesident (Muhammadu Buhari) I was shocked because where do we process such in Nigeria.”
He also dismissed what he described as “speculations” of the involvement of foreign corporations in the illegal trade of gold in the country.
When asked about possible involvement in the trade as well as turning a blind eye to it, the Senator said, “I assure you that nothing going on as far as large-scale mining in Zamfara state, we have artisan mining, in fact it is villagers that are going into it. But for a proper mining, it is capital intensive.”