Illegal Mining: 3 Chinese nationals docked, remanded in prison - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Illegal Mining: 3 Chinese nationals docked, remanded in prison

The Federal Government, on Wednesday, arraigned three Chinese nationals and their company before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, over their alleged complicity in illegal mining activities.

The defendants - Song Fei, Li Teng Fei, Fei Shan, and Lian Hua Quarry Nigeria Limited - were docked before trial Justice Nkeonye Maya on a three-count charge bordering on "illegal exploitation of mineral resources" in Nigeria. 

However, when the charge was read to them, the defendants,  pleaded not guilty to it, even as the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Alex Ojo, sought their remand in prison custody.

Ojo told the court that the defendants posed a flight risk, insisting they could escape from the country if they are released on bail. 

On his part, counsel for the defendants, S.M Nwosu, urged the court to admit his clients to bail.

He argued that the charge against the defendants contained bailable offences.

After she had listened to both parties, Justice Maha, in a short ruling, admitted the defendants to bail.

The trial judge ordered the defendants to deposit their international passports with the registrar of the court. 

She further directed the defendants to produce three sureties that are owners of landed properties within the jurisdiction of the court.

More so, the court stressed that the sureties must deposit the certificate of occupancy of their properties, even as it remanded the defendant at Kuje prison, pending the perfection of their bail conditions.

The case was subsequently adjourned to May 31 for accelerated hearing.

The Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, is prosecuting the defendants on behalf of the federal government in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/177/2023.

In count one of the charge, the prosecution told the court that the defendants, using their company, had between August 2022 and February 2023, conspired with other persons that are currently at large,  "to mine mineral (resources) and carrying out quarrying operations without lawful authority, contrary to section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004."

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