THE Federal Government has assured hosting communities of environmental justice, protection of their right and peaceful relationship with operators.
This assurance was given by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, while giving his address on issues bordering ecology and social responsibility at the 5th edition of International Mining Investment Conference and Exhibition on Nigeria (IMICON 2016) held in Abuja.
Fayemi who chairs the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, said the government would always ensure the people in the host communities do not suffer any kind of neglect and ill-treatment from companies operating in their environment.
He said: “We are open for business but it is no longer business as usual. More than half a century of oil exploration activities in Nigeria has yielded painful and costly lessons on the necessity of sustainable resource management and ecologically-friendly, socially-responsible extractive endeavours. We are determined not to repeat the tragic errors of the past.
“This is why ecological justice is one of the major pillars of our approach to the repositioning of the solid minerals sector. We will ensure that investors comply with global best practices in resource extraction by integrating all relevant protocols on environmental conservation in the conduct of mining and all related business.
“This approach is informed by our belief that the environment itself is a resource and has to be safeguarded even as we unearth its more obvious treasures. Our goal is to provide a better deal for the local communities where these minerals are located, ensuring communal buy-in and benefit.
“Transparency is also a key consideration in how the mining industry will be run. We intend to foster a culture of openness which will, in turn, engender trust between all stakeholders. As you may know, I am also privileged to be the Chairperson of the Nigerian Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), with additional responsibilities in this regard.”
According to him government’s ambition goes beyond just extraction and exportation rather it aims to create a globally competitive sector capable of contributing to wealth creation, job creation and the advancement of social and human security.