- The federal government has addressed the Zamfara state gold controversy
- The government said the CBN is not buying gold bars from the northwest state
- Some Niger Delta leaders have been condemning the move since it surfaced in the media
The federal government has debunked media reports suggesting that the Zamfara state government was buying gold from artisanal miners in the state and selling them to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Part of a statement issued by the spokesman, ministry of mines and steel development, Etore Thomas, read:
“Though states through their licensed corporate bodies can buy and sell gold to any interested persons or company, it is worthy of note that CBN did not and will not buy gold from Zamfara state government.”
It stressed that under the Nigerian laws, solid minerals remain in the exclusive list such that only the federal government has the right of ownership and exploitation.
The statement added:
“The gold displayed by the Zamfara state government is called dore bars (semi-processed gold). CBN buys gold that is processed to 99.99 percent purity which is LBMA standard, tradable all over the world.”
Recall that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Nigeria's deputy Senate president, recently kicked against the reported sale of gold bars by Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state to the CBN.
Omo-Agege who is from oil-rich Delta state made his grievances known during Senate plenary on Wednesday, October 14.
“They don’t sell oil in any of the Niger Delta states. I am wondering why the governor of a state should be selling gold bar from Zamfara state to the CBN.”
Similarly, Delta state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, faulted the move by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to allow states like Zamfara mine and manage gold.
Governor Okowa made his grievances known during a quarterly media interaction with journalists on Wednesday, November 11, in Asaba.
The governor of Delta state who criticised the government's decision to stop Niger Delta states from managing their oil and gas resources described the policy as “discriminatory.”
Speaking further, Okowa said there was a need to restructure the country to pave the way for the devolution of more powers to states and local governments.
Many Nigerians frowned at the move, wondering why the state is handling its own resources why the situation is different in the southern part of the country.
The outrage also sparked renewed allegations of nepotism against the Buhari administration, which many critics have been highlighting since 2015.
On social media, many Nigerians voiced their concerns on the move, saying it sends the wrong signal to oil-producing states in the country.
5 years after, Nigerians speak about Buhari's administration | Legit TV