The Federal Government has adopted a measures to ensure that mining companies adhere to the guidelines of the Community Development Agreements of their host communities for the protection of lives and property.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development Mr Olamilekan Adegbite stated this at a town hall meeting on Community Development Agreement and validation of a study on the impact of mining on the culture of the Original Inhabitants of the FCT.
The Minister represented by the Director Mines Environmental Compliance Department of the Ministry Mrs Vivian Okono, said that mining operators complying with the community development agreements would enhance transparency as well as address the environmental challenges host communities face during mining activities.
According to the Minister ‘’the whole idea is that, if the mining companies or operators would extract minerals of economic values from the Community, then they have some obligations to protect and improve the welfare of the Community. The net effect is to enhance quality of life in the broadest possible way, through corporate support of educational institutions, community relation programmes and infrastructural developments, such as construction of roads, markets, hospitals, schools, provision of pipe-borne water, electricity, and other activities that are considered to safeguard the position of the organization’’.
He said Sub-section (4) of the agreement indicates that the Community Development Agreement shall be subject to review every 5 years.
The very essence of the Community Development Agreement include:
It is a requirement of the Law in accordance with Section 116 of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.
To promote healthy and mutual beneficial relationships between Mining Companies and their host Communities. Mechanisms for promoting social licence to mine.
To prevent and manage conflict and ensure that social and economic benefits of a mining project are transferred to the host community. Increased community participation throughout the life of a development.
The Executive Director Centre for Transparency Advocacy, Mrs Faith Nwadishi , stressed the need for more capacity building for the negotiators in the reviewing of community development agreement process to equip them with the requisite knowledge and skills for the development of indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory.
A youth leader from Bwari Area Council of the FCT, Mr John Ayoniyi called on mining companies to protect the cultural rights and also provide adequate amenities for the Original Inhabitants of the FCT.
Reporting by Ebere Ukeje, editing by Daniel Adejo.