FG arrests 500 illegal miners, convicts 21


Poised to tackle the menace of illegal miners headlong, the federal government has so far arrested 500 illegal miners and convicted 21.
The Deputy Commandant General of the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps, Kelechi Madu, made this revelation when the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, commissioned 50 operation vehicles for use by the Special Mines Surveillance taskforce and the State Minerals Resources and Environmental Management committee (MIREMCO) on Thursday.
DCG hailed the provision of the operation vehicles for the mining surveillance saying that it would enhance optimal performance in the sector.
Madu revealed that over 500 illegal miners had so far been apprehended. While 21 have been convicted however some were released at the discretion of the mines offices in the states.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi in his remarks said: “Due to lack of required logistics, the Special Mines Surveillance Taskforce and MIREMCO could not deliver their mandates and this led to upsurge in the activities of illegal mining across the states of the federation and strained relationship with states and local governments.
According to the minister, “The first fifteen (15) States with functional MIREMCOs have already received the sum of Five (5) Million Naira each, as mobilization grants and ten (10) Hilux pick-up Vehicles were procured for the first ten (10) States.
Also speaking at the event, Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris who was represented by Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Taiwo Lakanu, said the re-introduction of mines police was to support the economic diversification efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration through effective security of the mines.
According to the Police IG who also commended the provision of surveillance vehicles to fight the illegal mining activities said the mines police is headed by a deputy Commissioner of Police Tunde Mobayo, saddled with the responsibility of securing the mines against the scrounge of illegal mining.
He explained that for its operations at the states, the Mines Police would work with the Counter Terrorist Unit of the Nigerian Police to ensure efficiency.

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