The Federation of Nigerian Mining Host Communities has called for the establishment of Solid Minerals Community Development Fund for mining host communities.
The Federation made the call at a news conference at the end of its two-day National Convention on Thursday in Abuja with the theme: “Strengthening Social Safeguards, Environmental and Socio-economic Sustainability of Mining Host Communities in Nigeria”.
Mr Habibu Wushishi, Member National Steering Committee, said the call became imperative to enable communities to benefit more from mining activities in their area .
Wushishi said Gobla Rights in 2019 catalysed the formation of the Federation, an amalgamation of mining host communities in Nigeria with the aim of articulating common struggles and demands.
“This is because it realised the need for a citizens-led initiative to demand accountability and promote safeguards for the sustainability of mining host communities in Nigeria.
It is to also protect the rights of mining host communities in ensuring that the benefits of mineral resources trickles down to the communities from which they are harnessed.
” The economic returns from mining in Nigeria is huge and often incalculable because of poor oversight and obsolete legislation which does not adequately deal with emerging trends in the extractive sector.
“Nigeria has in recent times witnessed aggravated security challenges, most of which are resource control-oriented and mining host communities are the ones that often bear the brunt of this menace.”
Wushishi said in recent times, violent incidents leading to multiple casualties occurred in mining host communities across Nigeria.
He said it was on this notion that the Federation was being tasked to strengthen its position as a vanguard for demanding accountability from all stakeholders, both government and private actors, in the extractive industry.
He added that the Federation would therefore continue to amplify the voice of vulnerable host communities through critical conversations and a formidable structure.
“With the inauguration of the new Steering Committee today to lead its affairs for the next two years, the Federation has galvanised several communities across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria and will actively pursue its objectives and demands.
” Some of these demands include but are not limited to strengthening of the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) in each state and the swift fulfilment of its core mandate as provided by law.
“This will include demands for the immediate constitution of MIREMCO by states without existing committees.
“The enforcement of all the rights of Mining Host Communities in Nigeria as enshrined in the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act (2007).”
Wushishi said that the Federation was also calling for the comprehensive review of the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act 2007 to address emerging trends and global best practices on the rights of host communities.
He said it was also necessary to strengthen the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC), to properly carry out its interventions in host communities affected by the activities of hydro-power dams.
He said the Federation would, among other things, partner with regulatory agencies in the mining sector in its bid to achieve the broad objective of strengthening social safeguards, environmental and socio-economic sustainability of Mining Host Communities .
The Steering Committee of the Federation thanked Global Rights for the
initiative of facilitating the creation of the platform that enabled the voice of the mining host communities to be included in the discourse.
The group also thanked the various government stakeholders that continued to partner with the Federation
Wushishi said the Federation would commit to working collaboratively with the government agencies to strengthen safeguards for the sustainability of mining host communities in Nigeria.