At least six suspected illegal miners have been arrested by the Enugu State Government, while seven trucks belonging to the suspects were confiscated in the Obollo-Afor part of the state.
NIGERIACRIME learnt that the Special Adviser to the Governor on Energy and Solid Minerals, Dr Kingsley Nnaji, and the Divisional Police Officer of Obollo-Afor, CSP Ignatius Attah, had on Thursday visited the mining site to carry out the operation.
Recall that on September 15, 2023, the Enugu State Government, placed a ban on activities of miners in the state, warning that infractions of the ban would be sanctioned.
The Special Adviser disclosed that few months after the ban, the government sealed all illegal mining sites, adding that the visit followed a tip-off that illegal activities were still ongoing at some of the sealed sites.
“The state government is not against genuine investors, but illegal ones that have caused havoc by degrading and polluting streams from which our people fetch their drinking water.
“The people violated the court order against illegal mining in the state.
“The state government therefore gave another order to confiscate their vehicles and other equipment found at the sites.
“This was to enable them liaise with the police and the state government to do the necessary things needed for legal mining before the property would be released,” he said.
Nnaji further explained that the order included arrest of buyers of coal mined at illegal sites.
“If nobody was buying coal illicitly mined, nobody will mine. We are clamping down on illegal miners.
Nnaji warned vehicle/equipment leasing businesses not to lease their vehicles and equipment to illegal miners, adding that if they were caught, their vehicles would be confiscated.
Also, the DPO said the police would continue to support the local and state governments in its efforts to rid Enugu of illegal mining.
Attah said those arrested were taken to the police headquarters in Enugu where they made statements and were subsequently, detained.
“The vehicles confiscated include four trailers, one pay loader Caterpillar, one low bed and a truck,” the DPO said.