Sixteen Chinese nationals and eight Nigerians involved in massive illegal mining were on Monday arrested in Zurak, Wase Local Government, Plateau State on the orders of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Brig-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), when the NSA in company of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, visited some illegal mining sites in the richly endowed lead/zinc belt.
The Minister, in exercise of powers provided in Section 4 of the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act 2007, also declared a special mining zone over the lead/zinc in Kampala Zurak, directing the immediate stoppage of all mining activities in the area with the exception of duly licensed miners confirmed by the Mining Cadastre Office.
This is even as one Alhaji Usman Abubakar (aka Dan China) was declared wanted by Monguno.
The NSA ordered all security agencies to fish out and arrest the miner for acts seen as economic sabotage.
Plateau State Governor, Rt. Hon Simon Lalong, accompanied the Minister and the NSA on the reconnaissance mission to Wase LGA.
The arrested Nigerians have been in active connivance with non-Nigerians to carry out massive illegal mining in the state thereby depriving the country of revenue. Their unwholesome activities have also led to environmental degradation and abandoned mine pits.
Over time, the range of illegal mining activities have been recorded around the Zurak/Wase area leading to a huge loss of revenue, minable land and social displacement of the rural communities.