The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command, has confirmed the arrest of 21 illegal gold miners including three Chinese nationals, a community leader and 17 others for their involvement in illegal gold mining in the Azam community located in Nasarawa State.
In a statement issued by the FCT Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Josephine Adeh, on Wednesday, the arrest of the suspects was made possible following credible information and discrete investigation carried out by the police.
Adeh said the FCT police, after getting the information, began intensive investigations which spanned several weeks and at the end of its investigations, the suspects were identified and arrested at different locations.
“The suspects were arrested following the decision of heads of the security agencies in the region to curb the menace of kidnapping, banditry and other criminal activities within the FCT and its neighbouring States, including, Kogi, Niger, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau,” the statement which was made available to Ripples Nigeria reads.
“The ongoing exercise which is code named operation ‘Safe G-7,’ was aimed at embarking on a massive raid and cleanup operation in all mapped out hideouts, camps and areas serving as refuges to criminal elements.
“Safe G-7 on Tuesday, day two of the exercise, storm the Azam village upon actionable intelligence and discovered the illegal mining site.”
Adeh noted that the illegal gold miners who had established relationship with bandits and kidnappers in the forest, engaged the security agents in a gun duel prior to their arrest.
“The miners who were said to have established a symbiotic relationship with bandits/kidnappers, engaged the team In a gun duel and were forced to retreat, subsequently over powered by the superior fire power of the JTF and arrested. The team recorded the successful arrest of about 21 illegal miners on the sites including foreign nationals.
“Items recovered from the suspects include refined and unrefined gold, two gold weigh scales, criminal charms, seventeen mobile phones, four motorcycles, two dane guns, shovels, cutlasses, two pumping machines, one generator, substances suspected to be Cannabis, and other forms of hard drugs.
“Majority amongst the arrested suspects who are from the various bordering states, confessed to have enjoyed unfiltered cooperation with the head of the local community who was immediately taken into custody alongside the arrested suspects.”
The police spokesperson also noted that the three male Chinese national suspects arrested in connection to the offense would be officially handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service, with a view of establishing their immigration status in Nigeria.
“The Commisioner of Police, FCT Command, CP Babaji Sunday, while registering the commands unflinching commitment to the crusade against crime and criminality in the state, urges residents to not relent in cooperating with the Police as touching the rendition of prompt and accurate information relevant in supporting the command’s anti-criminality crusade.