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Forty-one men were on Thursday afternoon arraigned at a Federal High Court in Ibadan over illegal mining.

The defendants were arraigned before Justice UN Agomoh by the federal government through the Nigeria Police.

The defendants were arraigned on a two-count charge bordering on conspiracy and illegal mining.

The Police prosecuting counsel, Mr Michael Ojeah, told the court that the 41 defedants, on Jan.25, at Onipanu village in Ibadan judicial division, did conspire with one another to commit felony to with: unlawful mining.

Ojeah further said the defedants without lawful authority did mines and conceal 24.96 grams of gold ore, valued N1,248,000, extracted from an illegal mine site at Onipanu village, Ilaju in Ibadan.

According to him, under count one, the defendants violated sections 516 of the Criminal Code, Cap 38, vol. 11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. 2004.

Under count two, he said the defendants committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 8(b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Volume.9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.2004.

All the 41 defendants pleaded guilty to the charge.

Ojeah subsequently informed the court that he was prepared to present fact of the case since the defendants have pleaded guilty.

Inspector Awosanmi Abiola, who led a team of security operatives that arrested the defendants testified before Justice Agomoh on fact of the case.

Abiola tendered statements of five principal witnesses and statements of the 41 defendants recorded after the arrest.

Justice Agomoh admitted all the statements tendered and were marked as exhibits 1 – 46, as the defendants’ counsel, Mr Suraji Musa did not object.

Musa, however, prayed the court for a short adjournment for continuation of case review which Justice Agomoh granted and adjourned until March 11, for continuation of prosecution’s review of the case.

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