Firm accused of illegal mining blames government

Firm accused of illegal mining blames govt
The arrested alleged illegal miners

The company whose owner the Nigerian government declared wanted on Monday for alleged illegal mining in Wase local government area of Plateau State has denied that its activities were against the law.

Solid Unit Nigeria Limited is owned by Abdullahi Usman, also known as Dan China, who was described as the kingpin of illegal mining in the area.

Usman escaped arrest when the National Security Adviser, Ali Monguno, ordered the arrest of 20 suspected illegal miners at the mining sites on Monday.

But on Tuesday, the company said the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, was wrong to have said that it was operating illegal mining.

“We have documents in our possession and which have also been presented to the Minister showing that Sold Unit Nigeria Limited is engaged in legal and legitimate mining,” the company told journalists on Tuesday at a press conference in Jos.

“These documents are duly issued to the company by Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.”

The company’s spokesperson, Suliaman Adamu, who addressed the press conference on behalf of the company Tuesday evening, said Solid Unit Nigeria Limited has met all conditions and community agreements and other social obligations of state, local government council and traditional institutions where its mining site is sited.

“The company applied for mining lease in 2011 and has paid all fees and fulfilled all conditions provided for in the Mineral and Mining Act 2007, as well as conditions provided for by the Ministry of Mines,” Mr. Adamu said.

“But the issuance of the mining lease has not been done, in contravention of the Law which provides that the minister must issue the mining lease within 45 days.”

Adamu referred the journalists to section 65(1) of the Mineral and Mining Act, Laws 2007, insisting that the company was operating a legitimate business under the Nigerian Constitution.

He accused the Plateau State government of wrongly disclaiming the company “in time of trouble”.

“The company has been paying all revenues to the state government, Wase local government and Kampani Zurak Development Association till date and we have evidence,” Adamu said.

He said Solid Unit Nigeria Limited has met all the obligations, which warrant it to operate for 10 years.

“We (Solid Unit Nigeria Limited) graded Bashar Kampani Zurak road, about 100 kilometres which was bush. The company also built medical facilities, bought ambulance for the facilities and also takes care of all referral bills.

“The company has sunk over 10 boreholes and dam in the communities in Kampani Zurak to provide water to citizens within the communities.

“We built a clinic at Zak. We purchased one Toyota Hilux jeep for the village head of Kampani Zurak and another Toyota to KADA (the community association).”

The National Security Adviser, Mongonu, in company of the Minister of Mines and Steel, Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong and the member of the House of Representatives for Wase, Idris Maje, had declared the owner of Solid Unit Nigeria Limited, Usman wanted on Monday.

Several technical officials of the company were arrested and the company shut for running illegal operation.  

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