Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, Honourable Minister for Mines and Steel Development

Task Force arrests 11 suspects for illegal mining in Ogun

*Illegal mining is economic sabotage; we’re braced up to stop any group or individuals, anywhere, says FMMSD Official

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For allegedly engaging in economic sabotage, a Special Task Force against illegal mining and excavating has arrested about 11 persons, including a former councillor on a portion of land at Ijigun, Itele, in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Council of Ogun State in Nigeria.

ConsumerConnect gathered that the Task Force comprising the military, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) personnel, and others from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, led by Engr. Ayelabola Olubunmi, also confiscated 15 excavators, two pickups, a pail loader, and Mitsubishi vehicles.

Other item the Special Task Force seized is a sum of N11,900 from certain Ezekiel Ojebisi, who claimed to be a ticketer to loading sand vehicles at the time they busted the illegal mining land about a kilometer.

Engr. Olubunmi, while describing illegal mining on the land as economic sabotage disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is now braced up to stop any group or individuals, anywhere, who aimed at rendering the onerous job of the Ministry to unlock the economic potential of the solid minerals sub-sector in Nigeria to a nullity.

He said: “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 would be a reaction after this operation.

This reaction will help us to know those behind the illegal mining, he said.

The government official has assured that operation of the Task Force would not be an exercise in futility as the Federal Government-armed security agents would be stationed on the land.

“We have started the sensitisation campaign warning those involved in illegal mining activities in any part of the country to desist,” he stressed.

It was learnt that Mr. Debo Adeleke, a Lagos-based lawyer and human rights activist, earlier had written a petition to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, FCID Annex, Alagbon Close, Ikoyi, in Lagos State, complaining of illegal occupation of the same land by some hoodlums.

The lawyer stated that certain Alhaji Ibrahim Gbenga Ibuoye is the legal and equitable owner of the large piece of the land, which he said was hijacked by some powerful people without a licence, report said.

Adeleke had written in his petition that, “our client who acquired the said land for the purpose of continuing with his business of excavation of silt with the requisite permits from the Federal Ministry of Mines had been in occupation 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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