The Katsina State Government says illegal mining is the wheel that propels armed banditry in Katsina and neighbouring states in North-Western Nigeria.
Alhaji Mustapha Kanti Bello, the Katsina State Commissioner of Rural Development disclosed this during a press briefing on Thursday in Katsina.
"The states have a lot of mineral resources that the bandits have been mining without permission.
"The bandits have been involved in illegal mining of resources like gold and other mineral items in Rugu, Kamuku and Dansadau forests.
"The presence of large mineral deposits is the main reason that the bandits had been operating.
"The bandits use their illegally acquired weapons to disperse the innocent rural people to have access to the mineral resources," he said.
Mustapha disclosed that there was a company from a foreign country that mined a $500 million gold in Zamfara State during seven years of operation.
According to him, the bandits always wanted to enjoy free money to service their ostentatious lifestyle.
He appealed to the people in the region to intensify prayers so that God will bring peace in the region.