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‘They export gold daily but nobody dares to talk,’ reactions as EFCC seizes 12 truckloads of lithium in Kwara

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'They export gold daily but nobody dares to talk,' reactions as EFCC seizes 12 truckloads of lithium in Kwara

Some Nigerians have taken to social media to share their opinions about illegal mining in the country, following the impounding of 12 trucks containing different types of solid minerals mined without a license in Kwara State by the Ilorin Zonal Command of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

While parading the suspects in Ilorin on Tuesday, the Zonal Commander of EFCC, Michael Nzekwe had said that the suspects were arrested at various locations including Patigi, Igbeti and Ogbomoso areas near Kwara state.

He revealed that the offence is punishable with life imprisonment under Section 1(8) (b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, 1983.

According to Nzekwe; most of the arrested suspects were truck drivers, and some of them had named foreign nationals and one or two Nigerians behind the menace.

He warned that the EFCC would not relent in its efforts to fight against corruption just as it is leaving no stone unturned in breaking the rings of the illegal mining operators across the country.

“Aside from the law that frowns on illegal mining activities, the act is an economic sabotage capable of causing environmental devastation, socio-economic hardship, insecurity, banditry and a host of other vices.

“Preliminary investigations showed that the minerals suspected to be marble stone, white powder, lithium and lepidolite, among others, are being transported outside the country for production of goods at the expense of the Nigerian economy”, Nzekwe said, adding that the “Details of the registration number of the twelve trucks impounded by the anti-graft agency are: FG 179 6B, KWM 398 XA, TRE 419 YJ, ABC 795 XD, KWS 351 XC, ZUR 370 XJ, YL 667 XA, T3815 LA, AAA998XA, SHD 625XA and KWM 416 XA.

The Suspects arrested include; Nura Lawan, Tunde Jimoh, Sani Umar, Oyeleke Sunkanmi, Adegboyega Oluwashola, Mohammed Umar, Muhammed Abubakar, Dawud Muideen, Chukwu Okpara Idam, Ganiyu Roqeeb, Umina Umina, Nura Ibrahim, Isiyaku Jibril and Samaila Ibrahim.

Others are; Idris Isah, Abdullahi Adamu, Yusuf Auwal, Aminu Usman, Muhammed Musa, Yusuf Ibrahim, Abdullahi Sani, Ishola Mayowa Qudus, Zakariyau Yusuf, Abubakar Dauda, Mohammed A Mohammed, Soliu Mohammed, Sunday Adewale and Adeyemi Michael.

The rest are Idris Mohammed, Auwal Adam, Yusuf Ibrahim, Abdullahi Lawal, Damilare Samuel, Idris Oyeniran, Peter Gaya, Sulaiman Kabiru, Abdulwasiu Jimoh, Azeez Taofik, Isyaka Olalekan, Taofik Bello and Sadiq Murtala.”

He said that the suspects would be arraigned in court upon the conclusion of the ongoing investigations.

A Racket

Illegal mining, according to many accounts, is rampant in the country, and has been blamed for the rising levels of insecurity in parts of the country. And following the news of the arrest, some Nigerians took to social media to point out that the challenge is deep.

“This is why solid minerals in Nigeria earn less than N5b,” said economist, Kalu Aja, @FinPlanKaluAja

According to to him, “Nigeria is a West African “Zaire” when the natural resources are plundered openly without consequence. I applaud the policemen who actually arrested these crooks but…..

“I make an open bet with anyone that these exact trucks we see here will be released and these truckloads of very valuable soil will be exported without paying a kobo to the Federation.”

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Commenting under Kalu’s post, Rabiu Ayoqusibe, @ayoquxibe, noted that his brother who works at the cargo wing of the international airport informed him that gold is being exported out of the country daily illegally.

“My bro who works at the cargo wing of the international airport narrates how some individuals ship raw gold out of Nigeria every day. No one dares check them lest he disappears in 24,” he said.

Another user,Edo-Wizard, @davidoghe, wondered how the miners manage to evade customs and the police.

“Good but wait EFCC arrest truckload of lithium? Where are the Nigeria custom and Nigeria police force?” He wondered.

“Some set of big Nigerian men are behind this, and they’ve been in this for years and all across the country but minister of solid mineral alake is busy with politics.”

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