The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ilorin Zonal Command, has made a significant breakthrough in its fight against illegal mining activities in Kwara State, with the arrest of 41 suspects and the impounding of 12 trucks loaded with various types of solid minerals without proper licenses.
The operation, spearheaded by the EFCC’s Ilorin Zonal Commander, Michael Nzekwe, was conducted following credible intelligence regarding the illicit activities of these miners.
The suspects were apprehended at different locations in Share, Banni, Lade, Patigi, and Okolowo in Kwara State, as well as in Igbeti and Ogbomoso in neighboring Oyo State, while attempting to transport truckloads of minerals outside the states without the required licenses.
According to Nzekwe, preliminary investigations revealed that the seized minerals, suspected to include marble stone, white powder, lithium, and lepidolite, among others, were being unlawfully transported out of the country for production purposes, depriving Nigeria of significant revenue and posing serious environmental hazards.
“This operation is part of our renewed efforts to identify and apprehend both local and foreign collaborators involved in illegal mining activities,” stated Nzekwe.
Upon the conclusion of ongoing investigations, the arrested suspects will be arraigned in court to face charges related to illegal mining and economic sabotage.
Nzekwe further disclosed the registration numbers of the 12 impounded trucks as FG 179 6B, KWM 398 XA, TRE 419 YJ, ABC 795 XD, KWS 351 XC, ZUR 370 XJ, YL 667 XA, T3815 LA, AAA998XA, SHD 625XA, and KWM 416 XA.
This recent crackdown by the EFCC underscores the agency’s commitment to combatting illegal mining activities across the country and ensuring that perpetrators face the full wrath of the law.
It follows previous successful operations, including the conviction of a Chinese national and the arrest of several individuals involved in similar offenses.
The names of the 41 suspects arrested during the operation include Nura Lawan, Tunde Jimoh, Sani Umar, Oyeleke Sunkanmi, Adegboyega Oluwashola, Mohammed Umar, Muhammed Abubakar, and others, as listed by the EFCC. These arrests mark a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to curb illegal mining and safeguard Nigeria’s natural resources.