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Niger apprehend nursing mothers, teenagers at illegal mining sites

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The Niger State government has carried out raids on some of the illegal mining sites across the state where many of the erring miners were arrested.

Top on the list of those arrested include aged women, nursing mothers, their kids and children of school age.

The state Ministry of Mineral Resources, Wednesday, embarked on a raid of some mining sites and other suspected sites across the state, especially in Minna, the state capital.

It was gathered that the crack team was led by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Yunusa Nahauni, with other top officials backed up by Police operatives, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and the state’s Forest Hunters.

It was also gathered that the raid was extended to the premises of a private university, El-Amin University, Brighter Schools Road, T-Mama area on Mandela Road, Chanchaga Bridge, and Federal Government College Staff School, where the illegal miners were said to have been excavating without caution.

Information Officer of the ministry, Dibie Maureen, who confirmed the raid said the ministry was disturbed that despite the sensitisation on the dangers inherent in the illegal trade, the people remain adamant as they continue on the mining unabated.

“The areas raided were suspected of engaging in unauthorised mining activities by some suspected artisanal miners and as a result, a significant number of women, men, and even children were taken into custody.

“However, because of the vulnerability of the women, especially those who are nursing mothers and the elderly among them, a compassionate decision was made to promptly release them.

“On the other hand, seven men who were apprehended with them have been handed over to the police for further investigation and legal action.

“During the crackdown, mining equipment and tools were confiscated while some items were also recovered from them.

“Items recovered from them include 25 shovels, one hoe, 14 short diggers, 55 large rubber bowls, 34 head pans, and one pumping machine as they will be used as exhibits against them at the court.
“Investigations revealed that the majority of these miners hailed from Sokoto and other states, while only a few were discovered to be indigenes of Niger State”.

The Ministry assured that with the support of the state government, it would continue its crackdown on all suspected illegal mining sites in order to protect both the natural resources and the communities that are resident within the communities.

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