The Federal Government has charged a former Bauchi State governorship aspirant on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, Alhaji Abdullahi Usman, also known as Dan China, 16 Chinese citizens and nine others with illegal mining of lead and zinc.
The defendants, including Usman’s firm, Solid Unit Nigeria Limited, and eight other Nigerians, were accused of engaging in illegal mining at Kampani Zurak in the Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State between 2015 and 2017.
The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation filed four counts against the defendants before the Jos Division of the Federal High Court on February 20, 2018.
The case marked FHC/J/6/2018 was signed by Mr. Aminu Alilu, an Assistant Chief State Counsel of the Department of Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Justice.
The four counts preferred against the defendants were said to be contrary to and punishable under the various provisions of Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.
The Nigerian defendants charged alongside Usman and his firm, Solid Unit Nigeria Limited, include Sani Turaki, Yakubu Yuguda, Inusa Gonto, Mohammed Nuhu, Lawal Abdullahi, Hudu Mohammed Danjuma Bala and Abdullahi Inusa.
The Chinese are Lin Yun, Chen Cheng Zhang, Long Wen Dong, Huan Sheng Su, Chang Zhou Zhang, Dizhi Yue, Sudan Wen Ping, Lin Yao Tan, Duan Qi Ze, Liu Wen Dong, Yand Yuan, Duan Qi Fu, Fang Zhi Xing, Li Zhi Wei, Zham Shao Jiu and Lee Chun Nen.
In count 1, the 26 defendants were accused of conspiracy in “an unlawful mining of a mineral, to wit: lead/zinc and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.”
Among other charges, the prosecution accused the defendants in count 2 of engaging in mining “without lawful authority,” an offence said to be contrary to Section 1(8)(b) of the same law and punishable under the same section of the law.
But Usman, the prime suspect, had reportedly filed a N1bn fundamental human rights enforcement suit before the Federal High Court in Bauchi against the Attorney-General of the Federation and the National Security Adviser for his continued detention since January 24, 2016.
The Jos Division of the Federal High Court where he and 25 others were charged has fixed Tuesday for their arraignment.