For a Safer Earth, Healthier Climate

Stakeholders Advocate Peaceful Resolution of Kogi State Government, Dangote Impasse

By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja

Stakeholders on the auspices of the Federation of Nigerian Mining Host Communities (FNMHC) have called on the government of Kogi State and Dangote Cement to work towards a peaceful resolution of the current situation between the two parties.

The call was made in a communique jointly signed by Mr. Habibu Abubakar Wushishi and Dr. Temitope Olaifa – Co-chairs,  Dr. Kelechukwu Okezie , Mr. Adamu Kotorkoshi, Mr. Saddiq Umar Jalingo, and Ms. Abiodun Baiyewu – Secretariat,  titled ‘Kogi State Government and Dangote Cement Company Ltd Stalemate: A Call for Sustainable Mining Host Communities

The statement which stated that they had watched with dismay the repeated violations of the rights of mining host communities and had repeatedly advocated a more robust approach to the way the mining of solid minerals is conducted in the country noted that “As a responsible Federation, we will not arrogate to ourselves the position of judge in this matter considering that the matter is subjudice and is before a competent Nigerian Court. 

 “To the Kogi State Government and the Dangote Group, we press for meaningful dialogue, understanding, and peaceful resolution of the conflict currently brewing. It is imperative, that peace reigns even if for the fact that it is the host communities and not any of these two giants that will suffer a conflict of such magnitude if it were left to continue.

“We believe that the recent events have served as a reminder once again, that where there are mining companies (manufacturing companies) in any community, it is necessary to keep possible conflicts at a minimum. Some safeguards against conflicts are strongly worded in the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act (NMMA), which we agree is long overdue for review but is nonetheless very relevant today.

The FNMHC itemized the key issues to sanitizing the industry to include a combined reading of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) to ensure honest and diligent scrutiny of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) activities to ensure safety as well as Community Development Agreements, (CDAs) to ensure it is drafted in the best  interests of the host communities

Other issues raised include developing strategies to encourage the indigenous ownership of mining investments, noting that with such a code in place, State Governments will also put in place policies that will ensure that when entering into long-term contracts with mining companies, they will guarantee that the host communities are left with much more in their hands, than just job opportunities at mining /manufacturing sites. 

The group recalled that Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, had informed the world about the possible amendment last year and the Buhari Government is drawing to a close, with just a few months to go. They requested that the Buhari Administration does its utmost best to have the amendment of the Act concluded and effected before the expiration of its term

“Last year, on the 16th of November 2021, the Vice President of Nigeria spoke at the opening ceremony of the 5th Annual Mining Week, and he made bold the need for the amendment of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007 to ensure that it conforms to the current day realities. He went on to also state that the amendment process of the Mining legislation is underway.

“Our Federation is in total agreement with the urgent need to amend the Act, especially knowing that the over-centralization of the powers of the Federal Government to the detriment of host communities is a fact that cannot be overemphasized. The Federation  is strongly in favor of a Minerals and Mining Act that encourages the growth and operations  of the small, medium, and Artisanal mining concerns with a code of operation that ensures that  the commercial activities at these levels feed seamlessly into larger operations while”

The Group maintained they had been circumspect as they watched the events unfold in the media and also had the course to engage members of the Federation who are residents of the Obajana Community in Kogi State, with a view to understanding the impasse between the Dangote Group and the Kogi State Government

The commitment of the FNMHC to the ideals expressed herein is total and unwavering and we shall continue to be at the vanguard of our collective citizenry to ensure that we carry on engagements that will lead to that place in history where we can say that we have cleared various imbalances in the relationships between Host Communities, Federal, State Government and the private sector investors who usually come in with the funds to invest, hoping that they will yield the desired profits at the end of the day.

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