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The Federal Government has sealed an illegal mining site at Gaube, Kuje area council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), arresting three suspects in its ongoing efforts to combat illegal mining and revenue loss in the mining sector.

A statement from the Ministry of Solid Mineral Development said the operation, carried out by the Mining Marshals led by Assistant Commandant John Onoja Attah, was made possible through meticulous intelligence gathering and surveillance.

It noted that preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects lacked any documentation authorizing their mining activities on the site.The statement added that a legitimate mining company with the necessary permits for the same location was unable to access the site due to the illegal miners’ activities and resistance.

This is a clear case of illegal miners displacing lawful miners and investors, which will not be tolerated”, the Commander of the Mining Marshals was quoted to have said.

The suspects were said to have voluntarily confessed to the offense of illegal mining, admitting to having been operating on the site for over a year.

At the time of their arrest, over 2,000 tons of lithium was on the ground, highlighting the scale of the illegal operation, according to the statement.

“Whereas, we met about 2000 tons of lithium on the ground, the quantity of lithium mined since commencement of Operation can’t be quantified as they were not being recorded due to the illegality of their mining operations”, the Commander added.

The seized minerals and equipment on site have been marked as exhibits for prosecution, and further investigations are ongoing to uncover the extent of the illegal activities.

“The Commander of the Mining Marshals emphasized that this crackdown is part of a broader effort to combat revenue loss in the mining sector of Nigeria.

“The success of this operation is attributed to the collaborative efforts of the Honourable Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, and the Commandant General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, mni, OFR.

“The operation, code-named “OPERATION HAYAKIN KOGO,” aims to rid the mining sector of illegal activities and promote a more secure and prosperous industry. This operation sends a strong message to illegal miners and investors that the Federal Government will no longer tolerate illegal activities that undermine the growth and development of the mining sector,” the statement concluded.

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