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As charcoal business in Niger State reaches its peak, no fewer than 50 villagers have been arrested for allegedly felling trees and turning them to charcoal in some local government areas of state.

The suspects were arrested, last Tuesday, by the special committee set up by the state government to check deforestation.

The arrests were made in Mokwa, Bida, Katcha, Edati and Lavun local government areas of the state.

Charcoal business, in Niger State, has assumed a large scale proportion in recent time, forcing the state government to set up a special committee to safeguard the environment.

It could be recalled that the state government had in 2016 engaged about 500 youths as forest guards to guard against tree felling and protect the environment.

The suspects, it was gathered, were arrested and detained at the police stations in the affected local governments but were all brought to Minna last Friday where they were being kept at the Criminal Investigation Department at the police headquarters.

The state’s Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Muhammad Abubakar, when contacted, confirmed the arrest of only 21 suspects in connection with offence.

DSP Muhammad said, “they have been screened and the 21 have been charged to magistrate court 1 for violating the Niger State Forestry law 2013.”

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