Daily Trust (Abuja)

5 February 2013

Nigeria: Nasarawa Assembly to Wade Into Chinese Miners, Community Feud

Lafia — Nasarawa State House of Assembly (NSHA) has received a "Save Our Soul" (SOS), from youths of Udege-Mbeki community of Udege Development Area, and has agreed to table the feud between the petitioners and Kenyang Mining Company Limited, a Chinese firm mining columbine in the area, for deliberations on the House floor.

The management of Kenyang is locked in dispute with youths of Udege-Mbeki community, who stormed into the mining site on January 25, and damaged the firm's installations, in what has compelled the firm to cease operations. Mr. Bear Xiang, the Executive Manager of Kenyang, and Comrade Ibrahim Ahmed Mbeki, a youth leader who led his community to force their way into the firm's mining site, as well as the police authorities in the state, all confirmed the feud.

By today, spokesman of the state assembly, Mohammed Baba Ibaku, confirmed there was dispute between the parties at the mining site, and said further that the speaker of the state legislature, Musa Ahmed Mohammed, was in receipt of a petition from the youths.

Ibaku, who also represents the area in the state assembly, said the matter would be tabled for deliberation on the floor of the House, soon.

"Meanwhile, I received full briefings on the feud, and I have sat with the police area commander covering those parts of the state, and other stakeholders for talks. We have all agreed that the matter be resolved amicably in the interest of peace", Ibaku said further.

A copy of the petition made available to Daily Trust claimed that the Chinese firm violated an agreement with the community, by making use of a dam, which they say "is the only primary source of water and the sustaining point of our wells and boreholes."

The petition which is signed by 10 persons including Comrade Mbeki who had led the violent protest against the firm, alleged that the management of Kenyang is implementing a doctored agreement in which the their leader was made to sign "under duress."

The petition is asking the House to act to stop the Chinese miners from making use of the dam, just as it (petition), said the youths are acting on their own because they are aggrieved, and not that they are being sponsored by certain interests to do so, as has being widely held.

The management of the Chinese firm had denied ever agreeing not to use the dam, as they say it is one of the asserts they inherited from a former company that mined there. They said the youths are bearing an ulterior motive, lest, the dam as they claim, is a stagnant water body which is not safe for domestic use.

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