A task force constituted by the Kogi State Government has seized 21 trucks of coal suspected to be proceeds of Illegal mining in the state. 

Licenced and Legal Coal Miners in Kogi State disclosed this in a statement to journalists jointly signed by the Executive Chairman, Etazuma Mining and Industries Limited, Dr. Innocent Ezuma; Managing Director, Koyla Energy Limited, Partha Ghosh; and Managing Director, Mosra Energy Limited, Dr. Ramos Olukayode.

According to the statement, the task force made the seizure of the products between December 18, 2023 and January 7, 2024.

The statement added that the constitution of the task force followed the announcement by the Minister of Solid mineral Development, Mr. Dele Alake, which outlawed illegal mining activities as declared by the Federal Government.

It said, “On 18 December 2023, the Kogi State Government sprang into action with a corresponding enforcement action by setting up a joint taskforce comprising police, NSCDC, the State Security Service, Federal Mines Office, Kogi State, State Ministry of Solid Minerals and Natural Resources and Kogi State Vigilante Service (KSVS).

“Between 18 December 2023 and 7 January 2024 a total of 21 trucks loaded with coal, amounting to 945 tonnes, being product of illegal mining were impounded.

“Consequently, on 8 January 2024, an application was filed before the Federal High Court, Lokoja seeking an order of forfeiture of the 945 tonnes of coal to Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development.

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“Subsequently, on 18 January 2024, the Federal High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Abdul Dogo granted an interim forfeiture order for the 945 tonnes of coal to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

It added, “The court directed that, the notice of order be pasted in public places including Federal High Court, State High Court and various mining sites in Ankpa LGA, where the products were impounded for any interested person to show cause why the order should not be made absolute/final.

“The pasting/publication should be done within seven days after the date of the order, while the return date for the final Order is 1 February 2024.”

The statement added that in view of the development, 24 licensed mining companies visited Kogi State on 19 January to appreciate the state government and the security agencies for the unprecedented containment action and also made inputs to improve upon the operations of the joint task force.

The miners said, “We the licensed and legal coal miners in Kogi State hereby issue this statement to express our support for and earnest appreciation to the President of the Federal Government of Nigeria, His Excellency, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Minster of Solid Mineral Development, Mr. Dele Alake,  The Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello and the above named Security Agencies, especially the State Security Services, Kogi State Command which is coordinating the operation for taking up the fight against  economic saboteurs who have  the tendency to breed terrorism for  leaving no stone unturned to stop the menace of illegal mining with its negative impact on the economy and security of the country.

“We sincerely hope that the fight will be sustained to the full eradication of illegal mining activities not only in the coal mining sector but in all aspects of mining in Nigeria.

“We implore other state governments and security agencies to also take up the fight against illegal mining and economic sabotage in the best interest of the economy and security of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”