91 Firms Sign Community Mining Agreement in 2017-Ministry
The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development says 91 mining firms signed the Community Development Agreement (CDA) with their host mining communities in 2017.
Mr Salim Salaam, the Director, Mines Environmental Compliance Department of the ministry, disclosed this to the newsmen in Abuja.
Salaam said the mining companies and their host communities signed the agreement in line with the ministry’s law and mandate to promote socio economic development at every community.
“Wherever mining operation is going on, the community should have some benefits from the projects, this will impact positively on the lives of host communities and improve their relationship with better interaction.
“We at the ministry don’t partake in the signing of the agreement but we ensure that the terms and conditions in the agreement are achievable and realistic,’’ he said.
The director said his department had a monitoring and enforcement unit, which ensures mining companies fulfill the agreement signed with their host communities.
“The unit collates information, checks regularly, and updates its records before the timeline given to the companies to operate in the communities expires; if any company failed to fulfill its agreement, the unit follows them up,’’said Salaam.
According to him, the department is planning to increase its performance to ensure that all mining companies operating in Nigeria sign CDA with their host communities.
It is however important to note that the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria provides the Federal Government with control of all minerals in Nigeria. This consequently nullifies private ownership of solid minerals in Nigeria, and with effect, gives the Federal Government exclusive power not only over solid mineral, but also mining concerns in the country.
The significant power makes it important to critically consider some fundamental rights of the Nigerian citizens; as solid mineral in Nigeria are mined at the expense of the host communities’ socio-economic, health and environment. Chapter IV of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens. In this case, the constitution also provides rights that are very relevant to the solid mineral extraction. For instance, according to the Constitution, “[t]he State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air and land, forest and wild life of Nigeria. …exploitation of human or natural resources in any form whatsoever for reasons, other than good of the community, shall be prevented”.
It is noteworthy that mining extraction comes at a cost to environment, community health, and with social consequences most of which are borne by mining host communities. At the core of planning and implementation in the mining sector adequate attention has not been given to the protection of the rights of mining host communities; and failure to ensure their protection often results in disasters.