The Zamfara State police command, in collaboration with the Nigerian Army, has arrested and quarantined 251 illegal artisinal miners in the state, the state police commissioner, Mr Usman Nagogo, said on Saturday.
He said he led a team of policemen to one of the major mining sites at Kwalli in Bukkuyum Local Government and the result was that some Chinese nationals and their Nigerian collaborators were arrested and had since been handed over to Force CID, Force Headquarters Abuja.
“The Magnitude of arrest led both the Inspector General of Police and Chief of Army Staff to give a matching order to security agents to go after these illegal miners.
“In the same vein, the Brigade Commander 1 Brigade Nigerian Army, Gusau Brigadier General O. M Bello led a team compromising of Army, Police and DSS to raid the mining sites in Anka, Bukkuyum and Gummi LGAs.
“The raiding of Kawaye, Zugu, Dan Kamfani, Bagega, Dareta and Dakie Takwas mining sites of the above LGAs led to the arrest of two hundred and fifty (250) Nigerians and One(1) Burkinabe national,” he added.
He said exhibits recovered included; 12 pumping machines, 29 motorcycles, chemicals for making gold and unrefined gold sifting materials.
All the suspects have confessed to the offence and would be arraigned before the court of competent jurisdiction whenever the court resumes sitting, he said.
“Let me sound a word of warning that until and unless the federal government lifts the ban on mining activities, anybody who goes against the norms will be arrested and severely dealt with according to the law.
“The raiding of illegal miners will continue until all illegal mining activities are halted.
“It is a known fact that the federal government had last year at the heat of banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping banned all forms of mining activities in Zamfara State.
“This is because the Government felt that there was a Nexus between the criminality in Zamfara and mining activities.”