A Civil Society Organization, Global Rights, wants the Federal Government to step up measures at protecting the rights of mining host communities in the country.
The Country Director of the Organization Ms Abiodun Baiyewu made the call during a two day webinar workshop; tagged: Understanding and Promoting Mining Host Community Rights in Nigeria.
The workshop which was part of a series of dialogue and training with Representatives of the affected mining host communities was geared towards increasing awareness on how best to apply their rights in the community, as well as address developmental disparities within the country.
Ms Baiyewu noted that it became necessary to address the challenges faced by the affected communities, based on the findings from a team of officials from her organization, who paid a visit to the mining host communities which includes; Gombe, Osun, Kogi, Ebonyi among other states.
According to her, the residents from these communities complained of ill treatment from the miners, pollution of their waters with led Poisoning, loss of lives as a result of banditry attacks, and insecurity.
She made references to section 14, 17 and 46, of the 1999 constitution of the land use act as well as human rights protection.
“80% of mining activities were done by Artisinal and Small Scale Miners, most of which did not use proper channel, being the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, so there is bound to be a lot of challenges as its being faced by the host communities and that was why the Federal government must beef up security and make proper enforcement of the land use act especially in the case of water pollution, where citizens right to clean water and sanitation is being hampered”
“Community Development Agreement must also be in full use, and a more efficient fiscal and regulatory law to govern the extractive sector’s value chain must be visible, the court should be more accessible and affordable for the host communities to seek redress to their rights violation”
In their contributions; the representatives of the affected communities called on the federal government to clearly state the requisite protocols for community development agreements between mining companies and host communities.
According to them.
“Given the level of unregulated artisinal miners in the country, government should provide extension services by ensuring adequate oversight function on the activities of miners, there must equally be a strong political will to implement the AMV in the country”.
Participants expressed optimism that with transparency and equitable exploitation of mineral resources by the government, there would be a sustainable socio economic development in the country.