By Fortune Eromosele, ABUJA
A civil society organisation, Global Rights, has embarked on the task of strengthening mining communities to enable them to hold the government and other stakeholders accountable in the extractive industry.
Realizing the need for a citizens-led initiative to demand accountability and promote safeguards for the sustainability of mining host communities in Nigeria as well as protect the rights of mining host communities in ensuring the trickle down of the benefits of mineral resources to the communities from which they were harnessed, Global Rights in 2019 catalysed the formation of the Federation of Mining Host Communities of Nigeria. The Federation is an amalgamation of mining host communities in Nigeria with the aim of articulating common struggles and demands.
Speaking to newsmen during a national convention of the federation of Nigerian mining host communities, with the theme: “Strengthening Safeguards for the Sustainability of Mining Host Communities,” in Abuja, Habibu Abubakar, a National Steering Committee Member of the Federation of Nigerian Mining Host Communities, said the Federation will continue to amplify their voice of vulnerable host communities through critical conversations.
He said, “The economic returns from mining in Nigeria is huge and often incalculable because of poor oversight and obsolete legislation which does not adequately deal with emerging trends in the extractive sector.
“Nigeria has in recent times witnessed aggravated security challenges, most of which are resource control oriented Mining host communities are the ones that often bear the brunt of this menace.
“In recent times. violent incidents leading to multiple casualties have occurred in mining host communities across Nigeria. It is on this notion that the Federation of Nigerian Mining Host Communities is being tasked to strengthen its position as a vanguard for demanding accountability from all stakeholders both government and private actors in the extractive industry. The Federation will therefore continue to amplify the voice of vulnerable host communities through critical conversations and a formidable structure.”
Reading the statement to newsmen, he continued by saying: “With the inauguration of the new Steering Committee today to lead its affairs for the next two years, the Federation has galvanized several communities across the 6 geopolitical zones in Nigeria and will actively pursue its objectives and demands. Some of these demands include but are not limited to:
“Strengthening of the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee, (MIREMCO) in each state and the swift fulfilment of its core mandate as provided by law. This will include demands for the immediate constitution of MIREMCO by states without existing committees.
“The enforcement of all the rights of Mining Host Communities in Nigeria as enshrined in the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act (2007).
“The establishment of Solid Minerals Community Development Fund for Host Communities. Comprehensive review of the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act 2007 to address emerging trends and global best practices on the rights of host communities.
“Strengthening of the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC) to properly carry out its interventions in host communities affected by the activities of hydro-power dams.
“This list is not by any means exhaustive so the Federation will also among other things partner with regulatory agencies in the mining sector in its bid to achieve the broad objective of Strengthening Social Safeguards, Environmental and Socio-economic Sustainability of Mining Host Communities in Nigeria.”