Officers of the National Park Service has arrested 37illegal miners while two of its officers were killed during a joint patrol operation to curb illegal mining at Abata-Abu axis of the Old Oyo National Park on 24th July, 2023.

The late officers, Deputy Conservator of Parks, A. P. Ayemhoba and Chief Park Inspector, J. A. Adedokun were killed by the illegal miners who initially overwhelmed the Patrol Team of the late Officers and resisted arrest. However, the Miners were eventually overpowered when the Patrol Team received reinforcement from the nearest patrol station of the Park and arrested 37 of the miners.

The 37 illegal miners arrested who were suspected to be members of armed bandits from Niger and Zamfara States were since handed over to Police in Ibadan by the Park Authority. After additional investigation, the Police charged the Miners for homicide at Family Court in Ibadan . The Miners were arraigned before the Court on 17th July, 2023 and after hearing the case, the Judge adjourned the case to 14th December, 2023.The Miners were thereafter taken to the Nigerian Correctional Centre in Ibadan.

The late officers were buried according to Christian rites in their home towns on separate dates of 27th July, 2023 and 3rd August, 2023

The Conservator-General (CG), National Park Service, Dr. Ibrahim Musa Goni while speaking to Journalists in his office on the incidents said that illegal mining is one of the major challenges the Parks in Nigeria are facing. However, the CG said that inspite of the magnitude of these challenges, the Parks are still steadfast in their resolve to protect the entity of their Parks no matter the consequences. The CG used the moment to salute the rangers for their commitment and loyalty to the Service and their Country Nigeria and condole the families of those that either died or lost one thing or the other in the course of protecting their Parks and also called on other rangers not to be deterred by the challenges on ground. He said the Service will investigate the circumstances surrounding the incidence with a view to ensure that justice is done.

Finally, the CG called on all stakeholders of the wildlife and environmental management in and beyond Nigeria to join the Service in ridding the Parks of illegal miners and other wildlife miscreants so as to allow the Service achieve its purpose of establishment for nation development.


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