By Obas Esiedesa
About 50 percent of mining host communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is without a valid Community Development Agreement as mandated by the Solid Minerals Reform law, a research conducted by the Centre for Transparency Advocacy has found.
The report also found that most host communities lacked basic knowledge on how to go into proper community development agreement with mining companies leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.
Speaking at the public presentation of the report in Abuja yesterday, the Executive Director of CTA, Faith Nwadishi pointed out that the case of Original Inhabitants of the FCT was particularly disturbing because the development of the city has led to displacement and destruction of cultural sites and heritage centres.
Nwadishi pointed out though commercial mining activities were taking place in five of the six FCT area councils, there was little development in the communities to show for the activities of the companies.
According to her, “CTA is one of the organisations promoting the rights of the original inhabitants of the citizens of FCT.
“Under the project, we are promoting the cultural rights of the original rights, especially for them to have development agreements that will protect their cultural rights and ensure that they live responsible mining activities.
“In FCT there are nine tribes. We found out that there were people living here, proper plans were not made for the relocation of these people or for the protection of their cultural, economic and political life”, she added.
Also speaking at the event, the Secretary Garki Chiefdom in the FCT, Lazarus Nyaholo, lamented the original indigenes of the territory were displaced with adequately provided for.
Nyaholo said the original inhabitants have been reduced to paupers, because they have no elected representatives to project their grievances before constituted authorities.
He attributed Nigeria’s loss to Ghana in the crucial Football World Cup qualifying play off to the ancestral curse placed on the land where the Moshood Abiola Stadium is built.
He said as long as successive administrations of the FCT feign ignorance to the plight of the people, no football match played there will come out successful until they are appeased.
“If they like let them play 10 matches on that pitch, they will never emerge victorious because the original inhabitants that were in that location were chased out unceremoniously without compensation and they laid a curse on that land”.
On his part, a director at the Mining Cadastre Office in the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Ibrahim Abdulmajeed assured the host communities that the government would continue to collaborate with other stakeholders to ensure that the communities benefit from the resources in their areas.