As part of a last-minute effort to avert a possible lawsuit, the Chinese government has entered into talks with the Niger State government over illegal mining activities perpetrated by some of its companies across the state, particularly around Zuma Rock in Suleja Local Government Area of the state.
DAILY POST recalls that the activities of Chinese companies have been a source of concern for the state government. The outgoing governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, recently decried the destruction of the national monument through the mining activities of Chinese companies in the state and the country in general.
Bello had called on the Federal Government to stop their activities, adding that if the mining activities by a Chinese company had continued unchecked, the integrity of Zuma Rock would have been threatened.
Speaking at the end of the meeting on behalf of the state in Minna, Governor-elect Umar Mohammed Bago said the Chinese delegation, led by the country’s ambassador to Nigeria, came to discuss ways of ‘settling out of court.’
According to him, the illegal mining activities of the Chinese companies have caused inestimable damage to Zuma Rock, one of Nigeria’s monuments, as well as having directly impacted negatively on the host communities.
Bago insisted: “The Chinese have been our good partners [for a long time]. But when they do things that are wrong or capable of negating our mutually beneficial partnership, we must not only say it without fear or favour but also find ways to resolve it.”
He further revealed that the meeting also looked at newer ways by which the state government could enter into a business partnership with the Chinese government.
Earlier, the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. CUI Jianchun, explained that his visit was to enable him to hold talks with the state government on how to reduce and settle the issue of illegal mining by some Chinese companies in order to strengthen their bilateral relationship.
He stated: “The two sides have agreed to broaden economic ties. We hope that after the inauguration of the new administration, it will open more frontiers for business and development partnerships. Henceforth, the Chinese Government will ensure companies from China opportune to do business in the state do so genuinely and legally.”