Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, Honourable Minister for Mines and Steel Development

Government urged to tackle illegal mining, damaging effects on communities in FCT

*The Centre for Transparency Advocacy decries illicit mining activities, urging the Federal Government to take measures to address the devastating effects of mining on means of livelihood of original inhabitants of the FCT

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of the far-reaching consequences of the miners’ actions on the socio-political life of the populace, the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has urged the Federal Government to tackle illegal mining, especially in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Ms. Faith Nwadishi, Executive Director of the civil society organisation (CSO), advocated this at a town hall meeting the group organised.

The meeting was convened in respect of the “Community Development Agreement (CDA) and validation of the report of the scoping study on the impact of mining on the Original Inhabitants (OI) of the FCT, agency report said.

The study was carried out by CTA with the support of Macarthur Foundation through the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED).

Nwadishi, speaking at the community forum, decried that the damaging effects of mining, especially how quarrying by some companies has left communities devastated, means of livelihood destroyed, cultural sites desecrated, and the people dejected.

The CTA Executive Director said: “This is why we call on the Federal Government to put measures in place to tackle the devastating effect of mining on the means of livelihood of the original inhabitants of the FCT.”

She stated: “We are here today to actualise yet another milestone in the history of this project on promoting the rights of the original inhabitants of the FCT.

“This project was launched on January 14. It has been a long journey especially in demanding for the rights of the Original Inhabitants of the FCT and making certain requests.”

The scoping study, Ms. Nwadishi said, will help the communities, mining companies, and the government to further understand the challenges associated with mining and how the communities would benefit from the natural resources on their soil.

The Executive Director further noted: “From the respondents’ feedback, it showed that some of the important sites of the inhabitants have been destroyed by mining and infrastructural development activities such as in Kubwa district where their grave sites have been converted to an ultra-modern market now called Maitama market.”

She as well urged the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to do more to assist communities in the FCT negotiate agreements with mining operators.

Speaking at the town hall meeting, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, Honourable Minister for Mines and Steel Development, said that community development agreement in the sector was to ensure that the CDA was enshrined in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (NMMA) 2007 to make agreements between the  the Mining Communities mandatory.

In his remarks at the forum, Dr. Ibrahim Yaro, Esu Bwari, in FCT, said that aside from illegal mining, quarry activities also constitute hazard to the people in the community.

The Esu, represented by John Awoyi, Bwari Youth Leader, noted that a lot of residents in the area have been displaced by mining activities.

Yaro, however, appealed to CTA to add its scope of intervention on quarry activities, that have affected the communities.

Ibrahim Zikirullahi, Executive Director CHRICED, as well reiterated the organisation’s commitment to supporting partners and communities to realise their goals of improving the livelihood of the indigenes of the FCT.

Zikirullahi, also represented by Jaafar Abubakar, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at CHRICED, said that the group would ensure that government addresses the mining-related issues confronting the residents in the country’s FCT.

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