One Hassan Shittu and 11 others were arraigned before a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Abuja on account of alleged criminal conspiracy, trespass and illegal mining of gold and silver in Pegi, Kuje Axis of Abuja.
They were dragged before the court 8, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja on Wednesday by the Commissioner of Police represented by K. P Ebong.
Ebong told the Magistrate that the defendants entered into somebody’s land where they started digging.
He said “they were caught with container filled with gold,” reasonably suspected to be gold and silver.
But his worship asked the prosecution where the gold was and if the police has verified that the said subtance is gold.
Ebong replied that the substance was verified to be gold and was already in the custody of the police.
He added that it would be presented as evidence subsequently.
The charge was then read out to the defendants.
It reads in part:
“That you… all from Zamfara state wilfully conspired amongst yourself and engaged in illegal mining of good and silver in the Pegi Kuje Axis where you were arrested by the police and taking to the FCT police for investigation.
“You all confessed to mining without authorization…”
But they all denied the allegations.
Their lawyer, B.I. Udeh Esq, then urged the Magistrate to grant them bail assuring that they would abide by the terms and conditions of the bail.
“The offense is for now a mere allegations until it is proved by the prosecution,” he said.
The court granted them a bail bond of 20,000 naira each, with sureties who must be resident in Abuja.
The money will be paid in the event that they jump bail.
The matter was adjourned to April 21.