Danjuma Elisha, the Commandant, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), in Imo State on Saturday in Owerri paraded 29 persons arrested for allegedly engaging in illegal mining activities in various locations.
The commandant said the suspects were arrested following a directive by Governor Hope Uzodimma to crack down on illegal mining operators in the state.
He said the arrests were effected by a combined team involving the military, police and the Federal Road Safety Commission among others.
Mr Elisha said he would conduct the profiling of the suspects before charging them to court.
“We are here to work and we must carry out the governor’s directive to its fullest by ensuring that the environment is safe for all.
“Illegal mining is impacting negatively on the lives of people in Imo.
“It is one of the causes of landslide and heavy flooding, so we will not allow it to happen again,” he said.
The Commandant said the feat was achieved following the synergy of operations existing among security outfits in Imo.
Kelechi Nwokocha, one of the suspects, who pleaded for forgiveness, also told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he was in the business for seven years.
“I was arrested at Worie River at Nekede Old Road. I am aware that we are doing illegal business and our mining activities are impacting negatively on the environment.
“If I am given a second chance, I will not go back to illegal mining again,” he said.
NAN reports that Mr Uzodimma had recently announced a ban on illegal mining and directed security agencies to crack down on suspects.