The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) arrested no fewer than 40 suspected illegal coal miners in Enugu, the commandant, Mr. Muhammed Dada, said.
Addressing newsmen on Friday in Enugu, Dada said that during the operation, items recovered included pumping machines, diggers, head-pans, shovels, and four Hanvan G7 trucks without registration numbers.
Others are a Toyota Hilux van with registration number MUS 513 HU, two heavy-duty batteries, a substantial amount of coal, and a motorcycle.
Dada said that the operation took place on Thursday, Aug. 24, at the base of Ugwuonyeama Hill in Enugu.
The commandant described the act as serious economic sabotage, adding that the arrest underlined corps role as the lead agency entrusted with safeguarding critical national assets and infrastructure.
“The NSCDC’s intelligence team, acting on a tip-off, conducted a successful raid leading to the arrest of the 40 suspects involved in illegal coal mining at Ugwuonyeama,” he said.
Dada said that NSCDC would thoroughly investigate the matter and “ensure that those responsible for these activities face the consequences of their actions”.
He also warned individuals engaging in illegal mining activities in the state to stop immediately.
The commandant reiterated NSCDC’s resolve to collaborate with law-abiding citizens, urging residents to support government efforts in curbing these illegal activities by providing information that could aid in ending them.
“Those with valid clearance and legitimate mining operation licences will be treated in accordance with the law.
“The NSCDC remains resolute in its actions, which underline its commitment to safeguarding the nation’s resources and preserving the integrity of its critical assets,” he said.