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The Zamfara Gold and the Niger Delta Question

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Nigeria is a blessed country whose resources are not properly managed to develop and benefit her citizenry. God’s endowed Nigeria with both human and mineral resources which make her the richest in the African continent. Her land is also greenery and fertile but her government and citizens are yet to fully take advantage of her fertility through good agricultural policies.

The Niger Delta Region is the major contributor to the Nigerian Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) through her crude oil, but despite being the major impactor of the national treasury, she remains the most impoverished in the Nigerian state. She’s also the most oppressed and the poorest even with the constituted interventionist agencies.

Nigeria is said to be the sixth largest oil producing country in the world, and as such Nigeria earns 95% of her foreign exchange from the production of crude oil and gas resources in the Niger Delta Region.

The brunts of corruption, nepotism, favouritism, and unhonest leadership suffered by the lands bedding these God-given wealth has lingered from time immemorial.

Understandably, by the provisions of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, all natural resources found on any land belong to the federation and thereby controlled and managed by the federal government.

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Provocatively, reports of the purported purchase of gold from the Zamfara state by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI) is a slap on the oil producing states. Reports had it that earlier in July, 2020 the CBN had paid #268m for 12.5kg of locally mined gold bars. This singular act spiked so many reactions. I therefore asked, does that mean the gold in Zamfara state belongs to the state or to the Nigerian state? Does the CBN or government pay for the crude oil and gas resources in the Niger Region?

In as much as the crude oil and the gas resources in the Niger Delta Region belong to the federation by law, the Zamfara gold belongs to all as well, and it must be controlled and managed by the federal government.

The management and control of gold deposits in Zamfara by the state government is dissentaneous by the provisions of Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007.

If Zamfara state would manage and control her gold deposits then there’s need for the NASS to formulate bills to decentralize the law of management and control of natural resources, thereby empowering all states to control their resources, with stipulated contributions to the federal coffers.

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