Cross River Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) says it has arrested six suspected illegal miners in Biase Local Government Area of the state.
NSCDC Commandant in Anambra, Mr Stephen Lar, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Calabar that the suspects were arrested at a mining site on Monday.
Lar said that the command had declared zero tolerance for illegal mining due to increasing activities of unlicensed miners in the state.
According to him, NSCDC was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the nation’s economy is not sabotaged.
“Mining is the statutory responsibility of the Federal Government, anybody who engages in mining must obtain a licence from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
“We were informed of these illegal activities through a tip off in Biase Local Government Area of the state.
“Illegal mining has become a lucrative activity in that area and my men swung into action and arrested these people in the act.
“We are going to carry out an intensive investigation to find out from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel if they have license to operate or not.
“After that, we can prosecute them in the court of law to serve as a deterrent to others’’, he said.
The commandant told NAN that the command had reduced cases of vandalism and oil bunkering to the barest minimum in the state, saying that the command was now handling illegal mining.
“The eagle eye of NSCDC is everywhere, residents in Cross River should shun all acts of illegality because the law will not respect anybody found wanting.
He said that since he took over the command two months ago, he has arraigned 24 suspects for various crimes, particularly in the oil sector.
“We have achieved a lot during this short period that I resumed work here; I must commend all the officers and men of this command for their efforts in fighting all forms of illegality.
One of the suspects told NAN that he was a staff of one of the mining companies in Biase.
“My company did not ask me to go in search of the precious stones and I don’t have any licence to operate.
“I only got information that there is a new target area that has large precious stones, that was why I had to take some guys along with me to the place.
“The area where I got the precious stones does not fall within my company’s area, I only went there to get them and sell in order to buy food to eat’’, he explained.