Illegal miners and herdsmen men in Nigeria use cattle to convey gold from Niger State to neighbouring countries, the Niger State Governor, Muhammad Bago asserted on Wednesday.
However, the governor says he has rolled out plans to curb the menace and end insecurity that has ravaged the state over the years.
Speaking at a world press briefing in Abuja, Governor Bago revealed that the State is prepared to host the first sub-national Green Economy Summit, scheduled for October, 24-25 2023.
He added that his administration plans to take over all the ungoverned spaces that are occupied by marauding bandits.
The Green Economy Summit he said, will be attended by over 500 participants from a broad spectrum of backgrounds to discuss and help proffer solutions to issues of decarbonising energy systems, circular economy, waste management, green agriculture, food security, eco-tourism and community development.
The state is in collaboration with the Federal Government and the military to rid Niger of miscreants. Bago added that with about 8.6 million hectares of land with ungoverned space, the state accommodates the highest number of cattle herdsmen in the world.
He said the Green Economy Summit is expected to open the economic potentials of the state, adding, “Other issues to be discussed include: conserving biodiversity for sustainable development, innovative solutions for water management, smart cities, sustainable urbanisation, women and youth engagement.”
Governor Bago, who reiterated his administration’s resolve towards sustainable development of valuable natural resources (green assets) through the use of innovative practices in driving economic growth and prosperity, expressed optimism that the forthcoming Summit will help in achieving the feats.
According to him, “Niger state government is hosting the 1st-ever sub-national Green Economy Summit in response to the global challenges of environmental degradation, climate change impacts, insecurity and the growing need for sustainable solutions where we will be unveiling the Niger State Green Economy Blueprint to guide our developmental choice of actions.
“In view of the above, the Summit will attract experts and participants from around the world to exchange ideas, best practices, and innovations on green economy initiatives for us to learn and adapt in our context.
“This is in alignment with the country’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions, transition to a low-carbon economy. The Summit will help in meeting Nigeria’s pledge under the Paris Agreement, the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
“So don’t worry about security. Right now as a state, we have the highest congregation of Fulani herdsmen in the world in Niger State domesticated, so security wouldn’t be an issue.
“The military, Federal and state governments, we are in collaboration and as you know, very well, these are not things we can discuss in public. But I can assure you that Niger state is safe for investment.
“Again we banned mining, the incessant approval from the federal ministry of mining giving people licence to come and mine without the knowledge of the local people has become a menace. You know the degradation of our lands so much illegal activities have to be stopped.
“The herdsmen and miners, these mines are heavy and so they use these cattle to transport to neighbouring countries. So now we have banned that and we have a little peace. We have also negotiated on security.”