11 Burkinabes Who 'Can't Speak Any Nigerian Language' Among 21 Alleged Illegal Miners Arraigned In Taraba Court | #NwokeukwuMascot

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There was a mild drama on Monday at a court in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, when 21 persons were arraigned for alleged illegal mining. 

Court proceedings were halted when 11 out of the 21 defendants who claimed to be citizens of Burkina Faso, said they did not understand the language of the court or any Nigerian language.

This comes amidst escalating tension in the West African sub-region, following threats of military invasion against the Niger Republic by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The 21 alleged illegal miners were brought before a special court set up by the Taraba State Government after they were arrested by a security joint task force constituted to check the activities of illegal miners.

They were reportedly arrested at a disputed mining site whose ownership is being contested by Adamawa and Taraba states.

Authorities in Taraba State regard the area in question as Dogon-Yatshu in the Bali Local Government Area. But their Adamawa counterparts insist that the place is known as Kogin-Baba in the Toungo Local Government Area of the state.

 Photo of scene 
In the meantime, the court couldn't proceed with the trial as 11 out of the 21 defendants, claimed to have come from Burkina Faso. 

The prosecuting counsel, Nierus Johnson, urged the court to remand the defendants pending when a competent interpreter could interpret court proceedings in a language they would understand. 

But the counsel for the defendants, Martin Milkman, objected by informing the court that his clients should be admitted to bail since the court could not communicate their alleged crimes to them.

However, Magistrate Husseini Galadima ruled in favour of the prosecution by remanding the defendants at an undisclosed facility. He, thereafter, adjourned the case to September 6 to enable the court to get an interpreter.

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