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Government not working for Nigerians in mining sector, stakeholders allege

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Stones from Ijelu Mining site

“Colonial mentality will do the Federal Government no good. Australia and Canada have taken this into consideration. The
Nigerian government is not serving the citizens in the mining sector.”

With the above, the Executive Director of Global Rights, Abiodun Baiyewu, and other stakeholders yesterday came down hard on government at a town hall meeting to promote sustainability in the extractive sector through adherence to human rights in Abuja.

They, therefore, sought a review of the 2015 roadmap on solid minerals to check environmental degradation and enthrone community-based and participatory governance.

Baiyewu accused operators of flouting extant laws, adding that sources of water and the environment in the host communities had been contaminated on account of unregulated activities in the industry.

She argued that the impact of the roadmap had been felt in most of the states they had toured, noting that secrecy remains the order of the day in mining administration.

Faulting the portal of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the executive director accused the government of not carrying the stakeholders along in the decision-making process, especially those that relate to climate change.

Also speaking, Garba Dauda of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) deplored the death of 400 artisanal miners in Zamfara State and ongoing incidents in other communities, noting that this set of Nigerians had important roles to play in the nation’s economic regeneration.

Contributing, Godwin Ojo of Environmental Rights Action (ERA) called on government to externalise costs of environmental degradation and put mining in the hands of locals instead of engaging foreign investors.

He believed that when this is done, the environment and security would be better for it, describing as double colonialism the manhandling of Nigerians by expatriates and granting of waivers to the same people.

On his part, Linus Adie of the concerned ministry admitted that the roadmap was not formulated by ‘real’ stakeholders and as such, were not that much conversant with the challenges besetting the sector.


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