By Gift Eguavoen
As part of advocacy to promote responsible mining in Nigeria, the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) on Tuesday in Abuja, launched a research report titled, The Efficacy of Community Development Agreements in Mining Hosts Communities in Nigeria: Beyond Legal and Regulatory Provisions.
The non-profit organisation also premiered a documentary titled, ‘Voices from the Pit’, amplifying the plight of women and marginalized groups in mining host communities in Nigeria and the significant environmental degradation occurring in these areas.
The event also involved the launching of a Mobile App called hostcommunities.ng created to provide community members with a medium to track and report Community Development Agreements (CDA) projects with a view to holding duty bearers accountable.
Speaking at the event, Executive Director of Centre LSD, Mr. Monday Osasah, said the organisation has collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development since 2022 in efforts to bring sustainable development to mining host communities across Nigeria and enable them to benefit from the extraction of the minerals nature has blessed them with.
He explained that these efforts have led to a review and publication of the MMSD guidelines for the production of CDAs in the Solid Mineral sector in 2023.
In a key note address on the need for sustainable development in mining host communities, the Founding Executive Director of Centre LSD, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, reiterated that the impact of mining on host communities have largely been negative leading to environmental degradation, social disruption, economic inequalities among others.
He pointed out that despite the development of the 2016 mining roadmap intended to foster development in the sector, there remains unsustainable, indecent and irresponsible mining practices in the sector. This he said has resulted to environmental degradation, loss of bio diversity, disruption of community social and economic systems, to mention a few.
While stressing the need to reverse the negative narrative, Dr. Igbuzor said, Centre LSD, in line with the African Mining Vision, developed a set of 20 mining principles which stresses the need for government to ensure descent mining principles that will be beneficial to citizens including future generations.
The principles among others, highlights the need for government to ensure mining practices that mitigate environmental impact, strengthen regulatory framework, ensure companies embrace CSR and full implementation of CDAs as well as promote workplace safety.
Also speaking at the event, the Director in charge of Monitoring and Compliance, at the federal ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Vivian Okolo, commended Centre LSD for the initiatives and contributions to national development. She added that the launch of the research report and mobile App are laudable achievements towards solid minerals sector development in Nigeria.
While restating that all states in Nigeria are blessed with abundant mineral resources, she decried the negative effect and impact of indecent mining on host communities. She however, highlighted efforts initiated by government to check irresponsible mining and ensure transfer of benefits to mining host communities with a view to ensure sustainable development.