By Bisade Ojoye
Gold Buyers and Jewelry Shop Owners’ Association has allegedly accused the National Security Adviser (NSA) Maj. Gen Babagana Mongonu of ordering the arrest and detention of some of its members with the intent of intimidating and coercing them into implicating the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Mattawalle of buying gold from them in exchange for arms for bandits.
The group stated that three of its members in Zaria and Minna have been arrested and are being tortured on the orders of the NSA to get them to admit that the Zamfara State Governor, Mattawalle was buying gold from them which he allegedly exchanged for arms with bandits.
The Association in a statement signed on Saturday in Abuja by its Chairman Anwalu Musa said their members: Musa Mustapha, Ibrahim Sani were arrested in Zaria while Abdullahi Mohammed was arrested in Minna on the orders of the NSA who was trying to frame them up to maliciously implicate the Governor of buying gold from them in exchange for arms for the bandits in his desperate bid to blackmail and mischievously pull him down.
Musa noted that the desperation of the NSA to continue to sabotage the peace initiative by the Governor Mattawalle administration at all cost had also resulted in the concoction of lies that an airplane was being used to take out gold from Zamfara and being in arms for bandits in the state.
The group added that the allegation among several others has led to the imposition of a no-fly zone and the ban of all mining activities in Zamfara State by the Federal Government.
“After the failed attempts to link Governor Mattawalle with the said alleged aircraft supplying of arms to bandits in exchange for gold in Zamfara State, it has now changed to another dimension of witch-hunting and intimidation of the gold buyers to implicate the Governor of Zamfara State.
“The arrested gold buyers have reliably confirmed to an investigative journalist that they were currently undergoing serious torture, harassment, threat to life, and intimidation, all aimed at coercing them to implicate Governor Mattawalle of buying gold from them, an allegation they have denied because they have never had any business transactions with the Governor. They disclosed that they were under duress to claim to having dealings with the Governor.
It would be recalled that a non-governmental organization, the Centre for Sustainable Peace and Development had declared that the allegations that the Zamfara State Governor Mattawalle was using an aircraft to take out gold from the state and bring in arms and ammunitions for bandits is a hoax and lie from the pit of hell.
This is as the group had accused the NSA of orchestrating the fake news all in the bid to intimidate and frustrate the peace efforts of the Mattawalle administration.
The group had also faulted the allegation by the NSA that the Federal Government had uncovered plots by some individuals to sabotage the implementation of the presidential directive banning gold exploration and the no-fly zone order in Zamfara state, saying that the State has no airport or airstrip.
The Executive Director Dr. Bello Usman Abdul Ganiyu, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja said that there was no such plot as the National Security Adviser (NSA) was constantly raising alarm where there is none all in the bid to cover his shady deals and create an impression of tension in Zamfara State.
“How can there be a plot to sabotage the no-fly zone? When Zamfara State does not have an airport or airstrip,” it said.