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April 13, 2024

illegal mining: NSCDC arrests 12 suspects, 6 tippers, one truck in Imo

illegal mining: NSCDC arrests 12 suspects, 6 tippers, one truck in Imo

By Chinonso Alozie

Owerri- Imo state commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Matthew Ovey, on Saturday, said the command arrested twelve suspects and confiscated six tippers, one truck involved in illegal mining operations in Imo.

Ovey disclosed this to newsmen while parading the suspects alongside the trucks at the command state headquarters in Owerri.

According to him, the breakthrough was made following the intelligence gathering of the gallant men of anti-vandals mines and steels and intelligent department of special intelligence corp of the Commandant General from the National headquarters in Abuja.

He narrated that; “For something our gallant men of anti-vandals mines and steels and intelligent department of special intelligence corp of commandant general from Abuja, have been going out on surveillance. To the glory of God we have met seizures and arrest. Particularly from the period of Easter and this time of sallah. Little did they know the saboteurs of government that during this period of festivity that we operate most.

“We went to Agbaja an area around Ehime Mbano council area of Imo state, we arrested about six trucks of illegal miners. They temper with a lot government installations at the process of excavation of sands. Most of them are illegal miners. They not registered fully to obtain license to operate from the federal mines office and when the Minister on solid minerals development, Oladele Aleke, he came and he gave them one month window. He said to to them to and ensure you get yourself a license and if you do not have get one for yourself.

“We went to areas of Ohaji/Egbema council area of Imo state, Obokofia community, where we made an arrest of a connecting pipe this pipe is connected directly to the pipe where petroleum product are being flown in. At that point, we could not arrest any of them. However, we leave no stone unturn. It isa matter of time we will arrest them.

“Soon you will see mining marshals in the state, because the head quarters have already done that. So we are encouraging illegal miners to go and obtain their licenses. Bankers should better stop because we will stop at no end to get them. We arrested nine persons, with six trucks, with three extra people who parade themselves as tax collectors. For bunkers at Obokofia community, in similar development we have arrested a short truck, conveying 500,000 liters of adulterated AGO, the driver is cooling his knees in our cell.

“Around Owerri North Council Area of Imo state, we arrested one Toyota Avalon carrying about 800 liters of adulterated petroleum product. Our intelligence department is on it and after that we charge them to court. So, it will interest you to know we have series of cases running in court regarding illegal bunkers and miners. More than 25 cases running in court.

Federal mines officer, Idris Omobalaji, said: “the illegal miners did not start today, but some of them are taking of the insecurity we have believing that the security have been overwhelmed and they cannot be tracked. We had meetings with tippers and miners associations of Imo state chapter. But unfortunately very few came around and did the right thing that is why we commenced this action.”

Some of the suspects, one Emeka Chimezie and one Anayo Ogbu, blamed poverty, lack of money as well as the difficulty economic situation in the country on their involvement in the alleged illegal mining.