Some of the teenagers were from Benin Republic
Four teenagers and 22 adults have been arrested by the Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, over alleged illegal dredging activities.
The arrest was carried out at the weekend by the Critical Infrastructure and Government Asset unit of the Command. The suspects were caught dredging sharp sand without authorisation or license from the government around Imosun, Ijebu North Local Government, Ogun State, the corps said.
The Ogun NSCDC spokesperson, Olanrewaju Kareem, who confirmed this development to PREMIUM TIMES in Abeokuta, said that the Corps was mandated by NSCDC Act of 2003 as amended in 2007 to safeguard all government asset, infrastructure or installations regardless of whether they belonged to Local, State or Federal Government.
He said the Critical Infrastructure Unit, during its routine patrol, discovered a place where dredging activities was going on without any recourse to the law guiding safe mining which made the activities a threat to the environment.
Mr. Olanrewaju said the resources belonged to the government.
“For this, it should not be left in the hand of individuals who excavate it to enrich their pocket,” he said.
The command spokesperson noted that what was most disheartening about the illegal dredging activities was the use of under age children.
“We are not happy at the way the children are being used for tedious activities like these; taking them away from their parents who may not know their actual location,”he lamented.
He gave names of the arrested teenagers, adding that some of them were from Benin Republic.
Mr. Olanrewaju disclosed that other agencies and departments concerned have been contacted accordingly.
Exhibits recovered from the suspects included four lorries, fully loaded with sharp sand; two had the registration numbers Lagos, EKY244YE and Lagos, KSF445XB while the other two had no registration numbers.
Other recovered items were a Jincheng motorcycle with registration number Lagos, QQ902EKY and some other tools used for the operations.