Former commissioner denies allegations linking his company to banditry
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Majelo Global Resources Limited, Hon. Ismaila Ibrahim Datti, has said reports linking his company with activities that nurture banditry in the Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State are false.
Hon. Ismaila, who was a former commissioner of youths in the state, frowned at a story published by an online news medium associating his company with a negotiating deal with bandits operating in Kurebe community under Shiroro Local Government Area.
He said his company has never partnered with others or any company to plunder the resources of the community, as insinuated in the report, and pay bandits money for any protection.
Hon. Ismaila averred that his company operated in some areas around Shiroro local government more than 10 years ago and had since abandoned his mining sites even before the security issues came to bear in the communities.
The said report alleged that Majelo Global Resources Limited, a mining and mineral exploration company owned by the former commissioner, had recently collaborated with some Chinese mining companies operating in the Kurebe community who were allegedly in the habit of bribing bandits purportedly of the Dogo Gide faction to allow them to mine lithium and other minerals in the area.
The reports indicated that the money paid for such purposes helps perpetuate banditry in the local government.
However, Ismaila Ibrahim Datti exonerated himself, explaining that the reporter misplaced the truth and concocted his own storyline to satisfy his sponsors.
He said he had been in mineral exploration for quite a long time and got, five years ago, a Small Scale Licence and a Licence for Explorations Permit from the Federal Mining Cadastre Office, Abuja, with the intention of mining gold on land he secured around the Kurebe community.
"I acquired this land more than 10 years ago and visited it only once. Last year, I was informed that some companies were operating under my title, mining lithium. We met, signed a deed of transfer, and transferred my rights on the lease to them.
"The company I entered into an agreement with last year was Three Crowns Mines Limited, and they have been operating in the area since then. Whether they were involved in any kind of deal or negotiation with the bandits, I wouldn't know since the reason I allowed them to mine in the area was because I could not access the place myself due largely to insecurity ", he revealed.
Hon. Ismaila Ibrahim Datti explained that it would be ridiculous to engage in agreement with the terrorist group in his position as a leader in the local government considering his political profile.
"The fact that I have transferred my titles to another company to operate in the area does not make me an accessory to any misconduct by that company. That aside. But, so why should my company that had not mined in the area in the past 10 years be mentioned ", he queried.
He said some of the people mentioned in the story were known to him and that he had met some of them to discuss encroachment on his license and to settle the dispute. He said the mined areas were not places anyone could operate because of banditry.
He said, "The first time we met to discuss the encroachment of my license at the Federal Mines Office in Minna, the Federal Mines Officer expressed concerns about the inaccessibility of the area because of the level of insecurity, but they said that was their headache and not mine. Even the Niger State Federal Mines Officer was there; he can bear witness".
Terror gangs mainly of the Dogo Gide faction operating in the forests of the Allawa, Galkago, Gurmana, Kurebe, and Bassa communities of Shiroro Local Government have for long unleashed mayhem on villagers, killing, extorting, and plundering farmers of possessions, which necessitated a response by the government in the form of the deployment of security personnel to confront the terrorists. This situation has forced many locals to abandon their homes for safer places, and some have gone into IDP camps.
However, despite this worsening security situation in the areas, mining continued unabated, with some observers concluding there must be some kind of understanding between the bandits and the miners.