Task force arrests 11 illegal miners in Ogun
Eleven persons, including a former councillor, were yesterday, arrested by a special task force for illegal mining on land at Ijigun, Itele in Ado-Odo Ota Local Council of Ogun State.
They were accused of mining and excavating on a portion of land said to have illegally been occupied by one Chief Abraham Idowu Akanle in Ijigun, Itele.
The task force, comprising military, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) personnel and others from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, led by one Ayelabola Olubunmi, also confiscated 15 excavators, two pick-ups, one pale loader and one Mitsubishi vehicle.
They also collected N11,900 from one Ezekiel Ojebisi, who claimed to be a ticketer to loading sand vehicles. Olubunmi, who described the illegal mining on the land as economic sabotage, said the ministry had now braced up to stop any group or individuals, anywhere, who aimed at rendering the onerous job of the ministry to unlock the economic potentials of the solid mineral sub-sector in Nigeria to a nullity.
“The occupiers have been here for the past three to four years without paying a single kobo or royalty to the Federal Government. We are here to put an end to such illegal activities.
“We’ve started the sensitisation campaign, warning illegal mining activities in any part of the country. We want to see whoever is actually occupying this land. We know there will be a reaction after this operation. This reaction will help us to know those behind the illegal mining.
He, therefore, gave the assurance that the task force operation would not be an exercise in futility, as the Federal Government armed security agents would be stationed on the land.
It would be recalled that a Lagos-based human rights activist, Debo Adeleke, had in a letter written to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) at the FCIID Annex, Alagbon Close, Ikoyi, Lagos, complained of illegal occupation of the same land by some hoodlums.
The lawyer stated that his client, one Alhaji Ibrahim Gbenga Ibuoye, was the legal and equitable owner of the large piece of the land, which he said, had been hijacked by some powerful people without a licence.
According to him, “Our client who acquired the said land for the purpose of continuing with his business of excavation on the said site with the requisite permits from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development had been occupying the land for years without any adverse claim.
“Our client is also in possession of all the permits, licences, family receipt, deed of assignment and all other documents in respect of the said land.”
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