FG arrests 3 illegal miners shutdown, mining site in Abuja

The federal government’s crackdown on illegal mining led to the apprehension of three suspects and the shutdown of their illegal mining site in Gaube, Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The arrest was carried out by the newly inaugurated Mining Marshals, led by Assistant Commandant John Onoja Attah, under the operation code-named “OPERATION HAYAKIN KOGO.”

Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects did not have the necessary documentation authorizing their mining activities on the site.

It was also found that a legitimate mining company with the proper permits for the same location was unable to access the site due to the activities and resistance of the illegal miners.

“This is a clear case of illegal miners displacing lawful miners and investors, which will not be tolerated,” according to the Commander of the Mining Marshals.

The suspects, who voluntarily confessed to the offence of illegal mining, admitted to having been operating on the site for over a year.

As at the time of their arrest, over 2,000 tons of lithium was on the ground, highlighting the scale of the illegal operation.

According to Attah, “Whereas, we met about 2000 tons of lithium on the ground, the quantity of lithium mined since commencement of operation can’t be quantified as they were not being recorded due to the illegality of their mining operations.”

The seized minerals and equipment on site have been marked as exhibits for prosecution, and further investigations are ongoing to uncover the extent of the illegal activities.

The Marshals Commander further said that the crackdown on illegal mining was part of a broader effort to combat revenue loss in the country’s mining sector and attributed the success of the operation to the collaborative efforts of the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake and the Commandant General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi.

He added that the operation is aimed at cleansing the mining sector of illegal activities and promoting a more secure and prosperous industry.

“This operation sends a strong message to illegal miners and investors that the federal government will no longer tolerate illegal activities that undermine the growth and development of the mining sector,” Attah maintained.

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