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Kogi State’s Major Clampdown: 21 Illegal Mining Trucks Seized

Coal Crackdown: Task Force Targets Illegal Mining, Confiscates Tonnes of Coal

by Oluwatosin Alabi

In a significant crackdown on illegal mining activities, a joint task force established by the Kogi State Government in Nigeria has recently confiscated 21 trucks loaded with approximately 945 tonnes of coal. This large-scale seizure, conducted between December 18, 2023, and January 7, 2024, marks a crucial step in combating the rampant illegal mining operations in the state.

This decisive action by the task force was disclosed in a joint statement by prominent figures in the licensed mining sector of Kogi State, including Dr. Innocent Ezuma, the Executive Chairman of Etazuma Mining and Industries Limited; Partha Ghosh, Managing Director of Koyla Energy Limited; and Dr. Ramos Olukayode, Managing Director of Mosra Energy Limited. The statement highlighted the concerted efforts taken by the state government in response to the Federal Government’s ban on illegal mining, as announced by the Minister of Solid Mineral Development, Mr. Dele Alake.

The task force, comprising members from the police, NSCDC, State Security Service, Federal Mines Office in Kogi State, State Ministry of Solid Minerals and Natural Resources, and Kogi State Vigilante Service (KSVS), was a strategic response to enforce the Federal Government’s directive. The interception of the 21 trucks signals a significant blow to the illicit coal mining operations that have long plagued the region.

Following the impoundment of the coal, legal actions were swiftly taken. On January 8, 2024, an application for the forfeiture of the seized coal to the Federal Government was filed at the Federal High Court in Lokoja. Subsequently, on January 18, 2024, Hon. Justice Abdul Dogo granted an interim forfeiture order for the 945 tonnes of coal to the Federal Government of Nigeria. This legal step is crucial in transferring the ownership of the impounded coal to the state and underscores the seriousness with which the authorities are treating illegal mining activities.

As part of the legal process, the court ordered the public notification of the forfeiture order, allowing interested parties to contest the decision. This notification is to be prominently displayed in public spaces, including courts and mining sites in Ankpa LGA, the location of the seizure. The final decision on the matter is scheduled for February 1, 2024.

In a show of solidarity and support for the government’s actions, representatives from 24 licensed mining companies visited Kogi State on January 19 to commend the state government and security agencies for their effective crackdown on illegal mining. These legal miners expressed their gratitude to President Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Minister Dele Alake, Governor Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, and the security agencies for their commitment to eradicating the menace of illegal mining. They recognized the operation as not only a victory for legal mining operations but also as a critical measure to safeguard the economy and national security.

The licensed miners’ statement also highlighted the broader implications of illegal mining, including the potential to fuel economic sabotage and terrorism. They urged other state governments and security agencies across Nigeria to adopt a similar stance against illegal mining activities, emphasizing the importance of such actions for the country’s economic stability and security.

The recent operations in Kogi State represent a significant milestone in Nigeria’s ongoing battle against illegal mining. By taking firm action against unauthorized mining operations, the government is not only protecting the country’s natural resources but also reinforcing the rule of law and sustainable economic practices.

This development in Kogi State serves as a model for other regions in Nigeria, demonstrating the effectiveness of coordinated efforts between government and security agencies in combating illegal activities. It also highlights the need for continuous vigilance and enforcement to sustain the gains made against illegal mining operations.

As Nigeria continues to develop its mining sector, ensuring compliance with legal and environmental standards remains a key priority. The actions taken by the Kogi State Government and the subsequent legal proceedings signify a commitment to upholding these standards and protecting the nation’s natural resources for future generations.

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