The Chinese government has commenced talks with authorities of the Niger State government over illegal mining activities by some Chinese companies across the state around Zuma Rock in the Suleja Local Government Area of the state.
The meeting is part of a last-minute effort to avert a possible lawsuit by the Niger State government against the companies, as their activities have been a source of concern for the state government.
Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, recently decried that mining activities of Chinese companies in the state and the country, in general, are destroying the national monument.
Bello noted that if the mining activities by a Chinese company had continued unchecked, the integrity of Zuma Rock is at risk.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. CUI Jianchun, said his visit was to enable him to hold talks with the state government on how to settle the issue of illegal mining by some Chinese companies to strengthen their bilateral relationship.
“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,” he stated.
In a remark, Governor-elect Umar Mohammed Bago said the illegal mining activities of the Chinese companies have caused inestimable damage to Zuma Rock, one of Nigeria’s monuments, and impacted negatively on the host communities.
“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 favor but also find ways to resolve it,” Bago said.
He added that the meeting also looked at ways the state government could enter into a business partnership with the Chinese government.
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