Zamfara state Government does not own or control gold mining fields— Igbo Investor


An Igbo Investor from Eastern Nigeria, Chief Sir James Udoji who owns 35 hectres of mining sites in Zamfara state said, Zamfara state Government does not control gold mining fields as insinuated by some people across the country.

Chief Sir James Udoji also debunked claims that Zamfara state Government has some mining sites and is involved in mining of gold. In an interview with journalists who were on working visit to his mining company called  ‘Cometstar Manufacturing company Ltd’, Sir Udoji spoke extensively of how he acquired his license as well as the number of years he spent in the business in the state.

Maiharaji Altine was among the journalists who went to the mining site and reported as follows:— Excerpts:–

Question:– For how long have you been mining in Zamfara state?

Answer:– I have been in Zamfara state for almost four years now. When I came in here, I looked at the state as a very viable state. So many mineral resources are here and we consider the state as very rich in all kinds of mineral resources. 

So there is the need for investors to come here and invest and with the support of the community, i,e, the state and the local government, the sky will be their limit. I come to Zamfara state with good intention and I have come to stay.

I have been investing here, the community will benefit, the state will benefit and the entire nation will benefit. I am here really for business and I believe, with the support of the goverment, I will achieve what I am here for.

Part of the mining company

Question:- It has been rumoured that, this mining company belongs to Zamfara man but we notice that, you cannot even speak in Hausa. From which part of the country do you come from?.

Answer:– I am from Anambra state but I am WAZOBIA. I said I am WAZOBIA because I invest in the West in Ogun state, that is where this company has its headquarters. Now I am in the north in Zamfara state, investing with such a huge project of mining. I am also from the East where I also invest. So anywhere we are, is our home. In as much as I cannot speak Hausa, one day I will learn it.

Question:– How comfortable are you running such a huge business here in the North?

Answer:– The people here are very friendly. The community has been giving me full cooperation. If you look at this stage, I can say that they are very cooperative and without their support I would have closed down the business. We also try our best by putting some projects in the mining activities. When we came in here, this mining site could not be accessed by road. We constructed the road for almost 12 months now. The company is now accessible and with this development, the community are so happy. They are even praying for our success.

Some components of the company

Question:– There is controversy that, it was the state government that gave you the license for mining. What is your comment?

Answer:— No. The license was given to me by the Federal government. I got my license from the Federal government and I still pay and renew the license as and when due. I used to pay royalty to the Federal government yearly. The current banning of mining by Zamfara state Government is biting us too much. In fact, I am currently losing a lot due to the ban.

Question: — How many hectres of mining fields is your company occupying?

Answer:– My company is currently occupying about 35 hectres of mining fields.

Chief James Udoji explaining a point to journalists

Question:– What do the goverment and people of Zamfara state stand to benefit from your mining company?

Answer:– So many thanks. First of all, when you have such a structure, it is the people of the state that will work under it. Currently, we have employed many people from the community. They are collecting their salary on monthly basis. I am very grateful that, they are very loyal to me. And again, so many things will come up. Even the NYSC corpe members used to come here on practical. We have a standard laboratory for testing of all kinds of mineral resources and instead of the corpe members to go to Kaduna, they come here.

Question: There has been an outcry from many people that Zamfara state Government controls the mining sites in the state. What is your reaction to this?

Another:– You see, sometimes, ignorance can cause many things. They are not aware of what is going on here in Zamfara. They need proper explanation for them to understand what is on ground. Let me disabuse their minds, Zamfara state is not controlling anything as far as mining in the state is concerned. It is the Federal government that controls mineral resources. As an individual, I applied for licence and I got it. The issue of license is the Federal government’s affair. I applied for licence and I got it. Let me tell you, anybody and apply for license and come to Zamfara For mining business. But as landlord, the state government has role to play and with their support, things will work well.

Some of the working tools of the company

Question:— How much did you invest in this company and what is its capacity in terms of workforce?

Answer:– I can only tell you about the capacity of the investment. You know that when you are still constructing you can’t determine its capacity until after you finish. Although I know what I am putting in here, I can’t actually tell you its capacity in terms of workforce, but I know that we are going to employ many people. It is going to create a lot of jobs both directly and indirectly. For now, we have more than 300 workers. The other indirect benefit is what I can’t explain. But I am telling you that of the construction is finished, we will rectuit over 2000 people.

Question:– Considering the security challenges in the country, how would you comment on the security issue in Zamfara state now that you are operating in the rural area?

Answer:– Actually, the security here is not friendly, but I know that with what Governor Bello matawalle is doing now, all will be well. I thank God, we have not witnessed any sad incident here in this company.

Question: — What is your appeal to Nigerians regarding the complaints that by Nigerians that Zamfara state Government has taken over the gold mining activities in the state? 

Answer:–  I want them to understand what is actually going on here in Zamfara. They should try to find out things before commenting on issues they have no knowledge about. They should not quickly argue on what they see on social media, because what you see in the social media can be real or false. I have been here for four years, as such I know what is happening as far as mining is concerned. So as I have said earlier, anybody has the right to apply for license from the Federal government and start business here.

Some of the journalists during the visit

Question:— Now that you are here and doing your business unhindered, can you go back to your people in the South especially the Southern Governors and explain to them the true situation of mining activities in Zamfara state?

Answer:–  Why not? If they call me, I will tell them the actual situation on ground, but if they don’t call me, I will not, because I am not a politician.

Question: How many mining companies are in the state at the moment?

Answer:— I cannot say the exact number of companies that are mining in Zamfara but if you want to know the number, you can contact the Federal ministry of Mines and Solid Minerals. They are in a better position to explain this. All I know is that we are many.

Thank you very much for your cooperation.

You are welcome.

Send me an email when this newspaper has been updated


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here