The Federal Government on Tuesday said it was no longer interested in prosecuting 16 Chinese nationals and 10 Nigerians, including their leader, a Jos based miner, Alh. Abdullahi Adamu, alias Dan-China, who were standing trial before a Jos Federal High Court.
The Government had arrested Dan-China and 25 accused persons and charged them before Justice Musa Kurya, on a four-count offence of illegal mining at Zurak in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau.
They (accused) were alleged to have sometimes between 2015 and 2017, being involved in illegal mining activities and disposing of the minerals, thereby committing offences punishable under Miscellaneous Offences Act of Nigeria 2004.
The offences were also punishable under the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.
But when the case came up again for continuation, the government through its Counsel, Mr Victor Joshua, told the court that it was no longer interested in the case.
“My Lord, I have received a directive from the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, ordering me to come and withdraw the case against all the 26 accused persons.
“This directive is in pursuant to section 108 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, and I hereby wish to make a formal application for the withdrawal of the case against all the accused persons.
“By this directive, the accused persons are not illegal miners and all the charges against them are hereby dropped and all their documents, collected in respect to this case, be returned to them, ‘’ Joshua stated.
In response, Mr Joseph Danboyi, who represented the lead Defense Counsel, Mr Paul Erokoro (SAN), did not object to the application to withdraw the case.
“My Lord, by this good and positive development, we have no reason to object but celebrate it in its totality.
“This is the reason why we are in court, to tell the world that the accused persons have done no wrong against the State.
“We are extremely happy that they have been vindicated and very glad about it. From today, all the 26 accused persons are free people, who can go and continue with their businesses without any fear, ’’ Danboyi said.
Justice Musa Kurya, in his ruling, said, “based on the application raised by the Plaintiff, which have not been opposed, the case is hereby dismissed and struck out.’’
“The 26 accused persons are hereby discharged and acquitted, ’’ Kurya declared.
The judge then ordered that all their documents including their passports, in the court, be released to them with immediate effect.