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Civil Defence Arrest 51 ‘Illegal Miners’ In Abuja

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has arrested 51 suspected illegal miners and three telecommunication mast vandals in the territory.

The NSCDC FCT Commandant, Olusola Odumosu, said this while briefing newsmen of the arrest on Monday at the command’s headquarters.

Odumosu said that the three suspected vandals were apprehended by the command’s intelligence and undercover operatives following a security tip-off of the dismantling activity at Giri area of the FCT.

According to him, before the decommissioning of a mast, an approval must be obtained from the NSCDC, being the lead agency in the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure.

He disclosed that the suspects, during interrogation by the command’s anti-vandal unit, were unable to show any approval paper. 

“Neither do they have any proper means of identification showing who they are and the company they are working for.

“Upon further questioning, they revealed that a a certain businessman had already been paid the sum of N4 million ahead of the dismantling which raised suspicion of a premeditated act of vandalism.

“Ongoing investigation is being carried out to determine his level of culpability and ownership claim, after which necessary action will be taken,” he said.

The commandant disclosed that in a similar operation, 51 suspects were akso arrested in Gwagwalada area of the FCT for engaging in illegal mining activities.

Odumosu explained that the suspects, all male, had been profiled and had no evidence of operating under a registered company, as well as no exploration and mining licence.

“All acts of illegal mining encroaches on the soil and causes environmental degradation and erosion, and that is why most of these areas are no longer useful for agricultural and human activities,” Odumosu said.

He said that after a thorough investigation of both cases, the suspects would be charged to court for further disciplinary action.

The commandant listed the exhibits recovered from the 54 suspects to include dismantled metal mast parts, and five pumping machines.

“Unquantified amount of substance alleged to be gold dust, pumping holes, ten litres of fuel, shovels, diggers and head- pan were seized. 

“Henceforth, we will not relent to arrest any form of sabotage on the economy.

“The Federal Government is trying so hard to provide infrastructure to make life easy, but some miscreants in the name of vandalism and illegal mining are trying to destroy what has been provided.

“People are quick to condemn the government, but people like these are the ones dehumanising the efforts of the Federal Government,” Odumosu said. 

He warned vandals and other criminals in the FCT to relocate because the NSCDC will not allow the sabotage of the economy to continue in the territory. 

(NAN)

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