Samuel Bello, Abuja
The Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) has said henceforth, mining operators operating in any community without a Community Development Agreement (CDA) would be penalised for such unlawful actions.
FCT Mines Environmental Compliant officer and a member of the Committee from the Ministry of Mines and Steel, Osseini Ukwenya, disclosed this during a sensitisation meeting between miners and host communities in Bwari Area Council, Abuja.
According to Ukwenya, the reoccurring issues between the operators and the host communities have been that of pollution, as well as the inability of the operators to keep the agreement entered into with the communities.
“The committee has to advise on matter of pollution, how does it affect the community and what is the operator doing to minimize the pollution.
“It is the duty of the operators to ensure that the pollution in their areas of operation are brought to minimal level.”
Ukwenya therefore called on mining operators to be responsible to the community where they are operating. He also appealed to any aggrieved party to channel their grievances through the appropriate authorities, especially through the committee, in order to ensure that no one takes law into his hands as the committee is set to address issues of grievances.
Similarly, Chairman, Bwari Local Government Area Council, represented by the Head of Administration of the Council, Mohammad Loko, advised the Committee to ensure that the area council is given a level of control when it comes to the issue of mining operators within the local government.
Reacting to the development, President Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), Sani Shehu, said there was the need for the FCT environmental department to first of all liaise with the ministry of mines and steel development before any mining activity is contemplated.
According to Shehu, “Interagency conflict or approach to the same issues would not help matters in the mining sector.
“Any sanction should be discussed with the ministry of mines and steel development before it is being contemplated. Any suspension that is not in line with the mineral and mining act is not legal.
“My advice is that in order to grasp the proper sanction that is applicable to environmental impact assessment, there is need for the environmental department of FCT to first of all liaise with the ministry before any action is contemplated,” he said.