Centre urges mining companies to respect agreements signed with host communities

Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), a civil society group has called on mining companies and operators to keep to agreements signed with host communities.

The group’s Programme Manager, Mr McDonald Ekemezie made the call at a town hall meeting held at Mpape, Bwari Area Council of the FCT.

The town hall meeting had “Community step-down training on negotiation and understanding of Community Development Agreements (CDAs)’’ as its theme.

According to Ekemezie, CDA is a major element in natural resource governance, especially when it involves communities.

He said the meeting aimed to step down what CDAs meant to mining host communities.

“It is stepping down of knowledge of CTAs to communities for them to build their capacities to be able to negotiate beneficial community agreements.

“This is the second year of the implementation of the project.

“ Funded by McArthur Foundation an international NGO through Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education, it promotes the rights of original inhabitants of the FCT,’’ he added.

Ekemezie noted that agreements were often signed by a few people in host communities, whereas a larger majority of such communities had no knowledge of the signatories and did not even have access to the agreements.

“When agreements are signed, the mining companies, often times do not actually implement what is agreed upon,’’ he said.

Ekemezie added that most mining companies signed agreements and carried out operations that were not understood by host community members, leaving the communities devastated.

“The essence now is to get communities involved in signing CDAs that are beneficial to them.

“For instance, they need to know the process; they need to own the process; they need to be part of it; they need to be represented enough.

“The needs of the community need to be accommodated in whatever agreement is being signed and there has to be timeframe and they have to monitor implementation,’’ he stressed.

Ekemezie explained that the project was being implemented at Mpape and Kubwa (Bwari Area Council) and at Karshi and parts of Garki (Abuja Municipal Area Council).

He said the communities were selected through a baseline study which showed that a lot of mining activities were carried out in those areas.

A Youth Leader in Mpape, Mr Joshua Kato appreciated CTA for the training and promised to step down knowledge gained to members of his community.

Kato decried challenges faced by his community which included lack of potable water and absence of standard schools.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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