Illegal Mining: Ondo Court Remands 15 Suspects

An Ondo State Chief Magistrate court sitting in Akure has remanded at the Nigeria correctional service facility, Olokuta Akure 15 illegal gold miners pending a legal advice from the director of public prosecution in the state ministry of justice.

Magistrate Damilola Shekoni gave the ruling after the defendants were docked on a three count charge including illegal mining contrary to relevant laws of the land. 

Our correspondent reports that that the court also remanded three defendants arrested by Amotekun for illegal possession of firearms and cattle rearing in government reserve without permission.

The 15 defendants were arrested in Owo in the first week of February 2021 by operatives of the Ondo state security network, operation Amotekun during a sting operation.

Upon completion of investigation, the agency dragged the 15 defendants before magistrate Damilola Shekoni on a three count charge.

The charge include trespass on government reserves,  Illegal mining punishable under section 517 of the criminal laws of Ondo state and 134 of the minerals and mining act of 2007. 

The prosecuting counsel, Olusegun Akeredolu said the court has no jurisdiction to hear a case of illegal mining and prayed for the remand of the defendants pending the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution.

Counsel to the defendants, Yemi Salau who agreed with the prosecution on the lack of jurisdiction by the court however sought their bail citing section of 269 of the administration of criminal justice law in Ondo State.

Magistrate Shekoni after listening to arguments by counsel, especially on the jurisdiction of the court invoked 272 of the administration of criminal justice law and remanded the defendants in Owo and Ondo facilities of the Nigeria correctional services.

He directed the prosecution to forward the case file of the defendants to the office of Director of Public Prosecutions for legal advice and adjourned the case till March 26th 2021.

He also said the Covid-19 test should be conducted on the defendants before their transfer to the correctional facility.

Counsel to the defendants, Yemi Salau and The State Commander of Amotekun, Chief Adetunji adeleye expressed satisfaction with the proceedings.

Meanwhile, the court also remanded at the correctional facility, three defendants after they were docked by Amotekun on a three count charge including illegal firearms possession, and trespass in government forest reserves.

Their case was also adjourned to March 26 for further hearing.

Leke Adegbite

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