09 September 2020 by Julian Osamoto
Government at all levels have been advised to fully domesticate the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee Act, MIREMCO, to effectively utilize the nation’s abundant natural resources for economic development.
Country Director of Global Rights, a non governmental organization, Ms Abiodun Baiyewu, made the call at a virtual media and mining host community training in Abuja.
Baiyewu, noted that the country is well endowed with natural resources, sufficient to alleviate poverty, create job opportunities and boost the nation’s revenue if activities of ilegal miners were checked.
She observed that there were several mineral policies in place, but due to regulatory neglect on the part of the mineral sector , such rules had not been applied against ilegal miners who had caused ecological degradation on the country.
“Mineral policy of 2008 seeks to explore mineral endowment for wealth creation and job opportunities, also mineral policy of 2011, defined the rules of the MIREMCO act in other to give full implementation to its operation in states, she said”.
According to her there are laid down principles guiding the activities of miners and in the case of rights violation, there are equally provision for compensation.
Baiyewu, emphasized that most host mining communities had little or no knowledge of the MIREMCO Act and its function, and so they lack adequate knowledge of its application especially in rights violation as well as compensation.
“ECOWAS Mining directive was developed by the commission to harmonize guiding principles of mining sectors of member countries , aimed at ensuring accountability and promotion of human rights of mining host communities”.
“NEITI Act of 2007 also demonstrated commitment to the global Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, EITI, aimed at promoting accountability of government revenue.”
She explained that NEITI audit report released 2012, revealed that Nigeria loses royalties of about 4.048 billion naira annually to Ilegal mining and lack of capacity to monitor production in the quarries by the regulators.
She outlined the dangers of not having an active state MIREMCO to include;
“Lost of unquantified revenue as a result of lapses, setbacks on the part of host communities development, pollution and environmental degradation, high casualty as well as Vulnerability to the socio economic effects of mining”
She urged citizens to be well informed of their mining regulators and always monitor activities of Ilegal miners in their area and report to the appropriate authorities.