CDA, Host Communities Must Participate: Ebonyi State Commissioner For Solid Minerals

The Centre LSD with support from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is implementing a project, “strengthening Civic Advocacy and Engagement for Effective Natural Resource Governance in Nigeria.”  As part of the project implementation, on the 20th of September 2017, Mr. Okezie Kelechukwu, the Executive Director, Neighborhood Environment Watch (NEW) and Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria Ebonyi State coordinator led his team on advocacy visit to the state Solid Minerals Development.

At the meeting with Mr. Francis Orji, the state Commissioner for Solid Minerals Development, issues that border on solid minerals governance in Ebonyi state dominated the discourse.  The team urged the commissioner to work with the state to ensure mining host communities benefit from their natural resources, while their right is adequately protected.

Mr. Orji, in ensuring that host communities’ right is adequately protected, went to Ikwo and Enyigba mining communities on inspection.  He directed Royal Salt, a mining company to diligently discharge their corporate social responsibilities and ensure environmental safety in all the host communities.

Besides corporate social responsibilities, Mr. Okezie and his team urged the state to ensure adequate compensations for host communities and full implementation of the community development agreement as contained therein.

At the meeting, the state government agreed to partner with Centre LSD, Publish What You Pay Nigeria and NEW Foundation to ensure due diligence, and help the state track federal allocation from the derivation fund to the state.

The Commissioner told the team, the state is ready to partner with them and other NGOs in the state. I have directed that in developing the CDA, the mining companies must involve the host communities from inception to full implementation, the commissioner said.

Our experience has shown that companies prepare and impose (CDA) on the host communities, and this has in so many occasion resulted in conflicts.

The Commissioner disclosed that the state is not comfortable with the lack of full disclosure by mining companies in the state. He thus sought the support of NEW Foundation and their partners working with Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to ensure full disclosure and ensure that mining companies pay the appropriate revenues.

Publish What You Pay-Nigeria