For a Safer Earth, Healthier Climate

FG, Global Rights Reiterate Effective Implementation of CDAs For Mining Host Communities

By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja

The Nigerian Government and Global Rights Nigeria have restated their commitments to fighting for the rights of mining host communities through the effecting implementation of community development agreements, CDA.

This was the position of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Executive Secretary, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji in his remarks at the West African Mining Host Communities Indaba, which was held in Abuja from Wednesday, November 23- Friday, November 25.

According to Dr. Orji “CDA in every respect, if well implemented has far-reaching implications for mining host communities most of who are direct recipients of the negative impacts of mining”

“NEITI and Global Rights seek so much support in favour of mining communities that they should be exposed to public education, enlightenment, and access to information and data of what community development exactly are and are not.”

Dr. Orji stated that under the global contract transparency policy initiative they are driving at the global level, stressed the need for comprehensive content development that directly targets the welfare of host communities.

“Some of these benefits include, education, whether they come in form of scholarship or infrastructure, skill acquisition, or infrastructural development.

Participants@the Indaba

He attested that most communities that account for oil and gas, as well as solid minerals, live in misery, squalor, total ignorance, and neglect as sometimes benefits that accrue to them hardly get to those that ought to benefit and those are the issues that need to be simplified in the community development agreement, “

The ES who informed that the Nigerian Mining sector over the past 12 years had contributed N624,1bn to the nation’s economy described the contribution as poor and performance of the sector below expectation

“Today the sector alone contributes less than 5per cent to our GDP and from our reports, a total of N624bn had been earned in the solid minerals sector alone from the reports of 2007 published in 2010. While we may celebrate this increased attention paid to the sector, and increased revenue as it where we are still very concerned that NEITIs view of the revenue accruing from the sector is still very poor and performance far below the performance of the sector, especially when we compare what big mining countries are reaping from the benefits of solid minerals endowments in their jurisdiction”

“In the last 2 years, we have worked very closely with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, especially the Mining Cadastre Office through the regular exchange of information and data to prove governance processes that will incentivise revenue generation which Is exactly what governance needs more at this time”

He reiterated that the gains of these efforts have been trickling in slowly but steadily.

While commending the partnership of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development as well as the Director General of the Mining Cadaster Office and their teams for the partnership and cooperation they enjoyed the ES assured that the conduct of the solid minerals report for 2021 will disclose a lot more information, as the process has reached an advanced stage

He announced that for the first time 121 mining companies would be covered by the process. Out of which seventy-four (74) companies representing 61per cent have already provided all the information and data required while still awaiting full information and data from forty-seven (47) companies representing 39 percent

“We hope, advise and warn that by December 6 which is the deadline the companies that are yet to comply with our process should do so to avoid sanctions. He added that over 96 percent of government agencies covered by the process had made submissions to NEITI to enable us to commence a nationwide data verification and reconciliation process to ensure that the data provided to us are real and valid.

He stressed that the need for the information and data was to ensure effective planning and reformation in the sector. He further reminded that as part of the solid minerals endowment, their intervention in the sector can only be felt if it contributes directly to employment, access to education for children, a good environment for the host communities, contributes to the Peace and stability of the country and, access to social harmony helps to increase revenue to reduce poverty, create jobs and build a much more harmonious society

Traditional rulers@the Indaba

In her remarks, GLOBAL RIGHTS, Executive Director, Abiodun Baiyewu noted that the Indaba organised in partnership with the AFRICAN COALITION ON CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY (ACCA) and supported by FORD FOUNDATION was themed “Enhancing Efficient Natural Resource Management for the Sustainability of Extractive Host Communities in West Africa” and had participants from five ECOWAS countries including Ghana, Mali, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea and of course Nigeria

According to Baiyewu “Beyond the fanfare of our gathering, today is the sad reality that our host communities are not thriving”

“West Africa is one of the richest regions of the world in terms of natural resources, and yet accounts for some of the poorest people in the world for some of the world conflicts in the world, and our convening today could not be more ominous than to say that we as mining host communities recognize our joint heritage/potentials and challenges as mining host communities across West Africa hereby convene and decide what are our future would look like

Noting that host communities do not always take charge of their future, she said “As a matter of fact, the history of Africa is the history of pillage. The core reason why colonialism happened was a pillage of our resources and that is to say in 2022 this pillage is still ongoing”.

She noted that constitutions in the various countries from which we have come say that our minerals should be used for the development of our people or should not be harnessed at all.

Speaking from the experience of the Nigerian Constitution, Section 17(2c) says that the natural resources of a community should not be harnessed, except for the good of that community. She said the opposite was however what they were seeing

Baiyewu said, “We are seeing trillions of dollars worth of commodity leave our shores and yet we have borne the consequences of poorly planned mining activities in our land, the deliberate pillage of our resources, of poorly thought out conditions which continue to hamper our growth and development our children, our future and us deserve better.”

“We have had civil wars that have been resource-based, whether in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and even in Nigeria. Currently, we have pockets of conflicts across Nigeria.

“Violence and insecurity, have been the bane of our country, but a cursory look at the states affected by conflict in Nigeria states that are most rich in natural resources. And so the communities that are most pillaged and suffer the most insecurity are the richest communities themselves. We are talking about Zamfara state, Niger, Osun, Kogi, Gombe, Enugu, and almost every state that is mineral rich, and almost every state has copious amounts of minerals.

Speaking for other states across West Africa, she wondered How we can yield so much and yet be so poor, how can we bear the brunt of the environmental degradation, how can our children’s future not be carefully planned for, our healthcare systems are weak, out infrastructural systems are weak which is also hindering the growth of mining in our region.

The Activists reiterated that the convening was to pave the way for our future, to think deeply about what we have and how to use what we have to gain what we want. 

“We have laws, we have policies, we have governments, and people who care deeply about our continent. Could we put together a combination of those looking at our laws, the African Mining Vision to look at the various laws in our country, the policies that can make for the good of our country and of our mining host communities, and carve out how do we demand accountability and a better future for ourselves and communities.

“Mining host communities have had too many people decide for us, systems that have not worked but have rather further plunged us into deeper poverty and environmental disasters. Climate change is upon us and West Africa which is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change were some of the conversations at the west Africa Mining” she said

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