Security operatives in Zamfara State have arrested no fewer than 251 illegal miners in three local government areas of the state.
According to the spokesman of the Zamfara State police command, Mohammed Shehu, a joint team of Soldiers, police and the Department of State Security Services had on May 21, 2020, raided the mining sites in Anka, Bukkuyum and Gummi local government areas, following intelligence information about the activities of the illegal miners which included 250 Nigerians and one Burkinabe national.
Exhibits recovered from them included 12 pumping machines, 29 motorcycles, Chemicals for making gold and Unrefined Gold sifting materials.
The police spokesman also disclosed that all the suspects have confessed to the offence and will be arraigned before the court of competent jurisdiction whenever the court resumes sitting.
He also warned that until and unless the Federal Government lifts the ban on mining activities, anybody who goes against the norms will be arrested and severely dealt with according to the law of the land.
Several miners were killed on Thursday after part of a copper mine collapsed in southeastern DR Congo, Swiss-based mining giant Glencore said.
The incident happened when two galleries caved in at a mine in the Kolwezi area operated by Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), a subsidiary of Glencore.
“Tragically there were 19 fatalities today, with possible further unconfirmed fatalities,” Glencore said in a statement, which said there had been recurrent problems with illicit mining on its concessions.
The newly posted Imo State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Mr Stephen Lar, has warned oil pipeline vandals, illegal miners, oil thieves and perpetrators of all other related crimes to stay off the state.
In his maiden briefing with newsmen in Owerri the Imo State capital, he said that the command has renewed drive to fight economic saboteurs in the country.
Mr Lar revealed that the command has commenced training and retraining of its staff to meet up with the present day challenges of oil pipe vandalism, kidnapping, oil theft and illegal mining.
He added that several officers of the command have been deployed to most of the oil producing areas of the state to mount active surveillance on oil installations to prevent any act of economic sabotage.
Mr Lar said that the command will not hesitate to punish anyone found guilty of any economic sabotage, which is a mandate given to them by the federal government.
While assuring Imo citizens of dedication and commitment to tackling crime in the state, Mr Lar called on officers and men of the command to cooperate with the new leadership in order to achieve their desired goals.
The Federal Government has concluded arrangement to deploy 3, 000 personnel of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) across the mining sites in the country to curb illegal mining operations.
The Kwara State Commandant of the NSCDC, Augustine Obiekwe, while inaugurating the 100 Personnel Unit of the state, gave the assurance that efforts would be made to safeguard the mining sites in the state.
He also urged the newly inaugurated Solid Minerals Defenders Unit to put in their best in the national assignment.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi in a recent outing in Ilorin, announced that his ministry would collaborate with the Ministry of Interior to provide security around the mining sites in the country.
The action, he said is necessary to safeguard the solid minerals across the states from illegal miners.
While inaugurating the Special Unit, Mr Obiekwe said the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two ministries – Solid Minerals and Interior – informed the establishment of the unit. He charged the men to be dedicated in guiding the solid mineral sites in the state.
He also noted that the fight against unauthorized and unlicensed mining activities should be the responsibility of all.
The Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Solid Minerals, Shehu Abdulrahman, explained that efforts are ongoing to register miners in the state to weed out illegal miners.