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Two Chinese illegal miners arrested in Minna

25 June 2013, 12:08

Minna - The Department of State Services (DSS) in Niger has arrested two Chinese nationals involved in illegal mining, excavating and exporting of gem stones.

The Director of DSS in the state, Larry Obiagwu, who said this when he briefed newsmen in Minna, said the suspects carried out their activities with their Nigerian collaborator.

Obiagwu said the Nigerian suspect acted as a mediator between the locals who dug for the stones and the Chinese at Koyugba Village in Jere ward of Paikoro Local Government Area.

He said the department placed surveillance in dense forests across the state, and particularly at Paikoro following a tip off.

He said the command’s investigation established that the suspects had spent about N3 million in settling the local diggers engaged in excavation of the gem stones.

The director said that they had plans of illicitly developing other mining sites that abound in the state but for their arrest.

According to him, the Chinese nationals will be arraigned at the Federal High Court in tandem with laws of the land and this will serve as deterrent to those foreigners who thrive on impunity.

He said that their activities were against the Minerals and Mining Act of 2007 which prohibited exploration and or exploitation of Minerals without authority.

One of the suspects, who spoke through an interpreter, said he had been in Nigeria for the past two years doing the business of exportation with a registered company, Fosta.

He claimed that he had a license to do business in Nigeria, adding that he only went to Paikoro to buy the products.

Similar, Obiagwu said that the command arrested four suspects over their involvement in the vandalism of armoured cables.

He said the cables belonged to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and Nigeria Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) in Minna.

Obiagwu said the cables were stolen within Minna metropolis and were sold at different times at the Panteka market and the proceeds shared among the suspects.

"The activities of the suspect had caused serious damage to NITEL and PHCN infrastructure in Minna and they are being arraigned,’’ he said.

 - NAN


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