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Illegal mining cause of unrest — Nasarawa assembly

Illegal mining of columbite, tin, zircon, lead and zinc by inhabitants of Udege-Mbeki community of Nasarawa State flourished in the area, but the coming in of a licensed Chinese mining firm stopped the illegal miners from their source of livelihood, causing the January 25 attack on the facilities of the firm, Nasarawa State House of Assembly (NSHA) heard, earlier in the week in Lafia.

Angry youths who protested against Osu Ajiri (paramount ruler) of Afo chiefdom of Udege Development Area, Alhaji Halilu Bala Usman, who they accused of doctoring a Community Development Agreement (CDA) between the community and Kenyang Mining Company Limited, a Chinese firm mining in the area, later attacked the firm’s facilities and damaged installations there on January 25.
The same youth proceeded to the state assembly complex with a Save Our Soul, seeking the lawmakers’ action against the Chinese, who they accused of drying up the only source of water in the community in breach of the original agreement between the firm and the community.
But the Joint Committee on Health, and Public Complaints and Petitions, headed by Abdulkareem Usman (PDP, Wamba), which the House mandated to investigate and report back, informed members during session last week that the aggrieved youths of Udege-Mbeki acted because the coming of the Chinese caused concern to the people.
“The petitioners are aggrieved because the illegal mining activities which are the sources of income to some inhabitants of the area have been stopped,” the report of the joint committee, which was read on the floor of the House, by Usman noted.
 The report said the agreement being implemented was duly entered between the investors and the community, with willing signatories. The report said no signatories signed the agreement under duress as alleged.
The report also said the Chinese have sunk three boreholes and urged the youths to desist from causing trouble but embrace dialogue to resolve misunderstandings with the investors.

 

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