In its renewed efforts to fish out local and foreign collaborators depriving the country of huge sums of revenue and causing serious environmental hazards to the people through illegal mining activities, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ilorin Zonal Command, has arrested 41 suspects and impounded 12 trucks allegedly containing different types of solid minerals without license.
The offence is punishable with life imprisonment under Section 1(8) (b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, 1983.
The EFCC had warned that it would be unrelenting in the fight against corruption just as it is leaving no stone unturned in breaking the rings of the illegal mining operators across the country. Aside the law that frowns on illegal mining activities, EFCC said the act is an economy sabotage capable of causing environmental devastation, socio-economic hardship, insecurity, banditry and a host of other vices.
It would be recalled that the EFCC, Ilorin Zonal Command had in 2022 secured the conviction of a Chinese national, Gang Deng and final forfeiture of two trucks with its mineral contents to the Federal Government, while it arrested 13 Chinese nationals comprising of a female and 12 males on July 12, 2023 for offences bordering on illegal mining.
The latest arrest, which followed credible intelligence over the activities of the illegal miners, featured suspects transporting truckloads of assorted minerals outside the state without due license. They were arrested at different locations in Share, Banni, Lade, Patigi and Okolowo in Kwara, and Igbeti and Ogbomosho in Oyo state.
The Suspects are Nura Lawan, Tunde Jimoh, Sani Umar, Oyeleke Sunkanmi, Adegboyega Oluwashola, Mohammed Umar, Muhammed Abubakar, Dawud Muideen, Chukwu Okpara Idam, Ganiyu Roqeeb, Umina Umina, Nura Ibrahim, Isiyaku Jibril and Samaila Ibrahim.
Others are Idris Isah, Abdullahi Adamu, Yusuf Auwal, Aminu Usman, Muhammed Musa, Yusuf Ibrahim, Abdullahi Sani, Ishola Mayowa Qudus, Zakariyau Yusuf, Abubakar Dauda, Mohammed A Mohammed, Soliu Mohammed, Sunday Adewale and Adeyemi Michael.
The rest are Idris Mohammed, Auwal Adam, Yusuf Ibrahim, Abdullahi Lawal, Damilare Samuel, Idris Oyeniran, Peter Gaya, Sulaiman Kabiru, Abdulwasiu Jimoh, Azeez Taofik, Isyaka Olalekan, Taofik Bello and Sadiq Murtala.
Preliminary investigations showed that the minerals suspected to be marble stone, white powder, lithium and lepidolite, among others, were being transported outside the country for production of goods at the expense of the Nigerian economy.
The suspects, EFCC stated, would be arraigned in court upon the conclusion of the ongoing investigations.