The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ilorin Zonal Command, has apprehended 41 suspects and seized 12 trucks loaded with various solid minerals mined without proper licensing.
Under the leadership of Mr. Michael Nzekwe, the Zonal Commander of EFCC, the suspects were rounded up from different locations including Patigi, Igbeti, and Ogbomoso areas near Kwara state.
Most of the arrested individuals were truck drivers, some of whom implicated foreign nationals and influential Nigerians allegedly behind the illegal mining operations.
Mr Nzekwe emphasized the EFCC’s commitment to combating corruption and dismantling illegal mining networks nationwide, citing the severe socio-economic and environmental consequences of such activities. He noted that the offence carries a punishment of life imprisonment under Section 1(8) (b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, 1983.
Among the apprehended suspects are individuals such as Nura Lawan, Tunde Jimoh, Sani Umar, and others, with details of the impounded trucks provided by the anti-graft agency.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the confiscated minerals, including marble stone, white powder, lithium, and lepidolite, were being smuggled out of the country, undermining the Nigerian economy.
The suspects will face legal proceedings upon the conclusion of ongoing investigations.
This operation follows previous successful actions by the EFCC, including the conviction of a Chinese national in 2022 and the arrest of 13 Chinese nationals in 2023 for similar offences related to illegal mining.