Eight Chinese nationals arrested in Plateau State for alleged illegal mining activities, have been released, their Nigerian associates have disclosed.
The Chinese citizens and 12 Nigerians were arrested on August 14 on the order of the National Security Adviser, Ali Monguno, after he visited the site of their illegal mining activities in Plateau State in the company of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi.
The spokesperson of the company believed to be associated with the Chinese men, Solid Unit Limited, Suleiman Adamu, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview on Friday that the men were released a week ago, after five days in police custody.
“They were released last Friday, but they were directed to be reporting to the police headquarters in Abuja periodically. They reported on Wednesday and they will report again in two weeks.
“They were initially taken to the Ministry of Mine and Steel Development and later detained at the police headquarters in Abuja for five days,” he said.
On the company’s chief executive declared wanted by Nigerian authorities, the company’s spokesman said Abdullahi Usman was ready to give himself up if invited by the Minister, Mr. Fayemi.
“He cannot just go to the minister without formal invitation. Declaring him wanted is not an invitation. That was why in our earlier press conference here in Jos, we condemned the statement of the minister.
“Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu Usman (Dan China), the chief executive of Solid Unit Limited, is a law abiding citizen with reputable character. He will honor invitation of the minister any time the minister deemed it fit to invite him,” he said.
Mr. Adamu accused the residents of Bashar community, one of the communities in Wase local government area of Plateau State where the company is operating, of inciting government against the company.
He said the mining company had mutual understanding with Kampani, its host community.
“Our company recently signed a new community development service agreement requiring for facilities within the community and the company was preparing to commence work but for the interference of hoodlums from a strange community called Bashar, which is located more than 100 kilometres from the mining site. They have truncated and sabotaged our activities,” he claimed.
The federal government officials and Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong, shut down operations of the mining company and arrested its field workers on August 14 for allegedly undertaking illegal mining activities.