A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the immediate unsealing of a stone mining firm,Crushed Rock Industries Nigeria Ltd. situated in Isiagu, Ebonyi State, which it held was illegally shut down on March, this year, by the state government.
Delivering judgment, the judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, further awarded a sum of N10 million as damages against the Ebonyi state government for the wrongful closure of the mining firm.
The firm had through its lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, approached the court to challenge the shutting down of its operations, stressing that it had mined stones at Ishiagu in Ebonyi state for over 40 years.
It urged the court to declare that it was only the Federal Government, as provided for in Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) that had the power to determine issues relating to mining in the country.
The Plaintiff further urged the court to declare that the illegal entry and unilateral sealing up of its quarry site by the Ebonyi State Government, without a court order, was illegal.
It therefore prayed the court to order an immediate reopening on its quarry site.
Justice Mohammed dismissed the preliminary objection the Ebonyi state government filed against the suit that challenged the territorial jurisdiction of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to entertain the suit.