Demands FG to Release Chinese Illegal Miners

Filed in Politics by on May 9, 2020

The Federal Government has refused to bow to pressure to free the Chinese and others arrested for illegal mining in Zamfara and Osun states last month, vowing to prosecute the suspects.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, said the government would meet with the Chinese government over the illegal activities of their nationals in Nigeria.

He described the illegal gold mining in the country by the Chinese nationals as economic sabotage.

Two Chinese were arrested for illegal mining in Zamfara, despite a subsisting ban on mining activities in the state by the Federal Government.

The ban followed the alleged links between illegal mining and banditry, which has led to the loss of hundreds of lives and destruction of property in the state.

Twenty-seven people, including  17 Chinese,  Senegalese, Burkinabes and  Nigerians were arrested for illegal mining in Osun.

Adegbite, who spoke to journalists at the  Abuja headquarters of the MMSD on Friday, said the Federal Government would no longer tolerate illegal mining.

A steady rise in the value of gold due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on currencies has been linked to the recent spike in illegal gold mining and the Federal Government, which is grappling with challenges arising from the decline in oil price, is determined to capitalise on the country’s gold deposits to shore up its revenue.

The minister, who claimed the illegal miners were working for “Nigerians in high positions of authority”, said they had decided to adopt diplomatic and legal measures towards addressing the illegal mining by foreigners in the country.

He said, “The Chinese are the main culprits in the illegal mining activities and we are going to meet with the Chinese Embassy.

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