The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced a total ban on mining activities in Zamfara State and its environs.
The decision is part of fresh measures to restore peace to the state bedevilled by banditry.
Hundreds of people have been killed or kidnapped by the bandits in Zamfara in the past year.
There have been suspicions that the criminality is a fallout of the artisanal mining of gold and lead in the state.
The new measure banning mining was announced by the Inspector General of the Police, Mohammed Adamu, while briefing State House correspondents on Sunday in Abuja.
Mr Adamu said the government took the decision because it found out there was a relationship between the bandits and illegal miners.
Mr Adamu also announced that “all foreigners within mining sites are to leave immediately.”
He said all the sites will be taken over by a special task force comprising of relevant security agencies.
The briefing was also attended by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; the Director General of the State Security Services, Yusuf Bichi; and the Director General of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai.
The decision also comes a day after dozens of people led by a prominent journalist, Kadaria Ahmed, marched in Abuja to protest the violence in Zamfara.