NSCDC Arrests Twelve Suspects, Seizes Trucks in Crackdown on Illegal Mining in Imo State

In a significant breakthrough, the Imo State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Matthew Ovey, announced the arrest of twelve suspects and the confiscation of six tippers and one truck involved in illegal mining operations in Imo State.

Ovey revealed this development while briefing journalists during the parade of the suspects alongside the seized trucks at the command’s state headquarters in Owerri.

According to Ovey, the success was achieved through the diligent intelligence gathering efforts of the NSCDC’s anti-vandals mines and steels unit and the special intelligence department, under the directive of the Commandant General from the National headquarters in Abuja.

He explained, “Our gallant men of the anti-vandals mines and steels unit, in collaboration with the special intelligence department, have been conducting surveillance operations. During the Easter and Sallah festivities, our operations were particularly intensified, catching the saboteurs of government unaware.”

Detailing the operations, Ovey stated, “We apprehended six trucks of illegal miners in the Agbaja area of Ehime Mbano council area. These individuals were involved in unauthorized excavation of sands, damaging government installations in the process.”

He continued, “In Ohaji/Egbema council area, specifically in the Obokofia community, we discovered a connecting pipe linked directly to a pipeline transporting petroleum products. Although no suspects were apprehended at the time, our investigations are ongoing, and arrests will be made soon.”

Ovey also warned illegal miners to obtain proper licenses, emphasizing that the NSCDC will not hesitate to enforce compliance. He highlighted ongoing court cases related to illegal bunkering and mining, with over 25 cases currently being prosecuted.

Federal mines officer, Idris Omobalaji, echoed the sentiments, stating that illegal mining has been a longstanding issue compounded by insecurity. He expressed disappointment at the lack of cooperation from mining associations in Imo State.

Some of the apprehended suspects cited poverty and economic hardship as reasons for their involvement in illegal mining, underscoring the broader socio-economic challenges facing communities involved in such activities.

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