The Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested 41 suspects and impounded 12 trucks allegedly containing different types of solid minerals without a licence in Kwara State.
The offence is punishable with life imprisonment under Section 1(8)(b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, 1983, according to the anti-graft agency in a statement in Ilorin on Tuesday.
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 from the law that frowns on illegal mining activities, the act is an economic sabotage capable of causing environmental devastation, socio-economic hardship, insecurity, banditry, and a host of other vices.
DAILY POST recalls that the Ilorin Zonal Command of EFCC had in 2022 secured the conviction of a Chinese national, Gang Deng, and the final forfeiture of two trucks with their mineral contents to the Federal Government, while it arrested 13 Chinese nationals, comprising 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 a licence.
They were arrested at different locations in Share, Banni, Lade, Patigi, and Okolowo in Kwara, and Igbeti and Ogbomosho in Oyo State.
The suspects include 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, are being transported outside the country for the production of goods at the expense of the Nigerian economy.
The suspects will be arraigned in court upon the conclusion of the ongoing investigations, the anti-graft agency added