Justice Muhammed Sani of the Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin on Wednesday, convicted and sentenced a 29-year-old Chinese National, Gang Deng, to five years imprisonment for offences bordering on illegal mining and possession of minerals without lawful authority.
Gang was arrested along Tsaragi Road in Share, Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State on Friday, September 9, 2022 by the Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. He was found to be in possession of 25 tons of minerals suspected to be Lepidolite, a raw material used for the production of batteries for vehicles, cell phones, cameras and other electronic devices.
It would be recalled that operatives of the EFCC, in collaboration with the Kwara State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development on August 30, 2022, arrested 13 suspected illegal miners operating in Kakafu village in Patigi Local Government Area of Kwara State.
Mining without license is a criminal offence under the law. It is an act of economic sabotage, punishable under Section 1 (8) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, which stipulates life imprisonment for offenders.
The Chinese National who is the Managing Director of Sinuo Xinyang Nigeria Ltd, confessed to the crime.
Consequently, the Ilorin Command of the EFCC arraigned Gang alongside his company Sinuo Xinyang Nigeria Ltd on one count amended charge before Justice Sani. When the charge was read to the defendant, he pleaded guilty, but entered “not guilty plea” for his company.
The court, thereafter adjourned till November 17, 2022 for hearing in the case of the convict’s company, Sinuo Xinyang Nigeria Ltd.