Illegal miners sentenced to 6 months imprisonment
A Magistrate Court in Akamkpa Town of Cross River Sate has sentenced 14 miners to six months imprisonment for illegal mining and other offences in the state’s National Park.
The Magistrate, Justice Okokon Essien directed that the offenders be jailed at the Correctional Service Centre in Calabar for failure to pay the fine option of N200,000 as provided by the Service’s law.
In a related development, Rangers at the Old Oyo National Park have arrested 37 miners and two of its officers killed by illegal miners who initially overwhelmed the joint Patrol Team at the Abata-Abu axis of the Park.
The late officers, Deputy Conservator of Parks, A. P. Ayemhoba and Chief Park Inspector, J. A. Adedokun, have since been buried in their hometowns.
The 37 illegal miners, suspected to be members of armed bandits from Niger and Zamfara States have also been handed over to the Police, who after investigation charged them for homicide at the Family Court in Ibadan.
Illegal mining a major challenge facing the Parks
Meanwhile, the Conservator-General, National Park Service, Dr Ibrahim Musa Goni who said illegal mining was a major challenge facing the Parks and expressed commitment to the protection of the Parks.
He commended the park rangers for their loyalty to the Service and consoled the families of those who died in the course of duty.
Dr Goni called on all stakeholders in wildlife and environmental management within and beyond Nigeria to join in ridding the Parks of illegal miners and other wildlife crimes.
Reporting by Godson Elekwachi, Editing by Omolola Ameen and Annabel Nwachukwu