Chinese govt engages in last-minute talks with Niger State to avoid legal battle over illegal mining
The Chinese Government is engaged in last-minute talks with the Niger State Government to avoid potential litigation regarding illegal mining activities carried out by some of its expatriate companies across the state, particularly at Zuma Rock.
This information was conveyed in a press release issued by Mary Noel-Berje, the Chief Press Secretary to the Niger State Governor.
Following the meeting, Umar Mohammed Bago, the Governor-elect, spoke on behalf of the state government, revealing that the Chinese delegation, led by the country’s Ambassador to Nigeria, had arrived in the state to explore possibilities of reaching an out-of-court settlement.
Bago expressed concern over the detrimental impact caused by Chinese illegal mining companies, which has resulted in significant damage to Nigeria’s national monument at Zuma Rock, as well as direct consequences for the local communities in the area.
While acknowledging the long-standing mutually beneficial partnership with the Chinese government, the Governor-elect emphasized that the state government could not idly stand by as its resources are illegally depleted, leading to perpetual environmental degradation.
“The Chinese have been valuable partners to us for a long time. However, when they engage in activities that are wrong or potentially undermine our mutually beneficial partnership, we must not only address the issue boldly but also seek ways to resolve it,” he stated.
In addition to addressing the issue of illegal mining, Hon. Umar Mohammed Bago highlighted that the meeting also explored opportunities for the state government to establish new business partnerships with the Chinese government.
Earlier, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Mr. CUI Jianchun, explained that his visit to the state aimed to facilitate discussions with the state government on curbing and resolving the issue of illegal mining by certain Chinese companies while strengthening bilateral relations.
The Chinese Ambassador conveyed that both sides had agreed to expand economic ties, with hopes that the inauguration of the new administration would open up more avenues for business and development partnerships.
Mr. CUI Jianchun assured that, as a longstanding partner of the state government, the Chinese government would ensure that all Chinese companies conducting business in the state do so legitimately and in accordance with the law.