By Angela Atabo
African Centre for Leadership Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) has unveiled a documentary, research report and mobile application to bring sustainable development to mining host communities across Nigeria.
Executive Director of the Centre, Monday Osasah, said this in Abuja on Thursday, while unveiling the documentary, research and host community mobile app supported by Ford Foundation.
He said the Centre collaborated with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, to ensure that host communities across Nigeria reaped mining benefits.
Osasah said that this led to the review and publication of the mining guidelines for the production of Community Development Agreements (CDAs) in the solid mineral sector in 2023.
“Centre LSD produced a research report on the efficacy of CDAs in mining host communities in Nigeria and a documentary showcasing the marginalisation of mining host communities titled “Voices from the Pits,”.
“It also developed a mobile app called hostcommunities.ng created to provide community members with a medium to track and report on CDA projects with a view to holding duty bearers accountable.
“We felt that ,yes we have reviewed the CDAs, but how do we also get fillers from host communities in terms of how the CDA is performing at the local level?
“So what we did was to develop a host community app which will be used by everybody including the media to track the CDA progress to.
“`This will help the media know the level of development going to mineral bearing communities as a result of the new guidelines that has come up,’’ he said.
Osasah said that this would enable people to have the opportunity to give commendations when necessary, and lay complaints where there are issues going on in the mining host communities using the app.
He said that those complaints would then be advanced to policymakers and relevant authorities for further action.
The founding Executive Director, of the centre, Dr Otive igbuzor, said that mining could play a crucial role in Nigeria’s economic development and has the potential to contribute significantly to revenue generation and job creation.
Igbuzor said that the impact of mining on host communities has largely been negative leading to environmental degradation, social disruption and economic inequalities.
“It is important to do mining right in a sustainable manner so that government, mining companies, citizens and host communities will benefit from the gains of decent and responsible mining practices.
“This can be done by the government ensuring decent mining that will be beneficial to citizens including future generations and not destroy the environment,’’ he said.
Igbuzor said that the mining process should also ensure local processing and value addition and the resources from mining should be used for social and economic development.
He said that the government should support and harness the potential of small-scale miners, and improve the livelihood of mining communities and build their capacity among others.
“The lessons from all of these are that for sustainable mining, there is need for countries to focus mitigating environmental impact ,promote implementation of CDA and strengthen regulatory framework and ensure mining companies embrace them.
Presenting the research report, Dr Emenike Umesi, Director of Leadership Centre LSD, said it was undertaken because mining CDAs in Nigeria is full of enormous gaps across communities.
According to Umesi, there is limited public knowledge about its existence, particularly in communities whose interest it was conceived to serve.
He said the report made some recommendations that if followed, would go a long way to transform the mining sector and set it on course for its benefits to be reaped.
The Programme Coordinator of the centre, Mr Vincent Dania, said that additionally, the platform would facilitate the reporting of cases of gender-based violence and breaches of CDAs.
“ It is also intended to serve as a valuable resource for researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders, providing access to information on community development agreements among others.
“The objective of this initiative is to enhance the living conditions and well-being of mining host communities while advocating for sustainable and responsible mining practices,’’ he said.
Dania said this would help to improve living conditions, promote sustainable mining practices and foster inclusive development. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Joseph Edeh