An International Non Governmental organization Global Right, wants the Federal Government to protect the rights of communities that host mining operations.
Country Director of the Organization, Ms Abiodun Baiyewu stated this while speaking at a Town Hall meeting in Abuja on promoting sanity in the extractive industry.
She decried the constant abuse by mining operators, adding that it had left the host communities in misery after exploiting their resources.
Ms Baiyewu, who observed the need to sensitize citizens on mining regulations said Global Right was working with relevant stakeholders to ensure speedy implementation of the National Action Plan on Human Right and mining operations in the country.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Environment, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, represented by the Director Environmental Assessment Mr John Alonge maintained that conflict management at all levels and mainstreaming environmental impact in Mining activities was necessary for sustainable development of the nation.
The representative of the host communities from Gombe, Kogi, Ebonyi and Plateau States narrates their ordeal from the mining activities.
From Mr Kilang Mena of Konta Community in Gombe state said “we don’t have water to drink in the community, but one day we discovered water in our community as a result of the Ashaka mining company, but we did not know it had been contaminated with chemicals until our women, animal and crops started dying, we have so far lost sixteen people”
Sylvia Ogbuinya from Ebonyi said “The soldiers always maltreat us, even the India coal mining company in our community would kneel us down, beat us up and even tell us that our government can not do anything to them if we report”
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu said the organization have not received a formal report to that effect and advised any community experiencing such abuse to channel their grievances to the appropriate authority, adding that the Federal Government is not insensitive to the plights of the citizen.
Dr Muazu affirmed that a task force on mines surveillance have already been deployed to States to report every activity of mining operations.