Men of the Ondo State Security Network known as the Amotekun Corps have arrested 15 persons suspected to be mining gold illegally inside the Owo forest reserves.
The suspects were operating in 50 locations inside the forest when they were apprehended.
Names of the suspects were given as Shuaibu Yahaya, Habbi Usman, Kabiru Waheed, Mohammed Nurudeen, Mohammed Sulaman, Ali Mustapha, Ismaila Wahab, Musa Zeehed, Gabbar Musa, Sule Adamu Abba Suleman, Usman Kebiru, Yahaya Danladi and Usman Ali Zekeri.
The Amotekun officials said they trekked for four hours into the forest led by local hunters after they got intelligence about activities of the miners.
Commander of Ondo Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, said the arrest was part of effort to end criminality in the state.
According to him: “The arrest took place at a forest reserve in Owo. We discovered the illegal mining locations in the course of our usual exercise.
“We noticed that they have gone far in 50 different locations where they were mining.
“Nobody would have believed that Ondo state have this quality of gold until we got to the locations where the gold robbers were living and performing illegal mining. Beyond the arrest, the culprits will be prosecuted.”
One of the suspects, Kabiru Shuaib, who said he hails from Kebbi State, said he worked as a security guard before he was invited by his friend, Yunisa, to join in the business.
“I have been performing the act since 2019. I came looking for job and I was introduced by one of our leaders who is at large. He brought me to Ondo state for this job because I wanted to make some money.
“After digging very dip, we got the black gold and we separated the sand from the gold with a flat sieve with a rug. The rug will do the separation as we pour the sand on it.
“I am the second best in getting the gold as it is a very high quality gold. We only get it out and send back home to our boss (names withheld) who sell them and later pay us.
“The gold in the land is of very high quality gold. Mostly we get 25 carats, 20 carats sometimes we get 15 carats gold. And we make good money.”
Amotekun operatives also arrested five suspected armed robbers terrorising travellers along the Benin-Owo road.
The gang leader was apprehended in Warri, Delta State.
Adeleye said: “We also nabbed five armed robbery suspects who were operating along Benin -Akure road. And most times, it is early morning they strike.
“We worked on intelligence and sold a dummy to them and they were traced to Delta State where he was apprehended”.