This annual conference drew people from different mining communities in West Africa to deliberate and find solutions to the common challenges that are confronting mining activities in the region.
The West African Mining Host Communities INDABA is a Natural Resource Governance Summit that provides a critical platform for Mining Host Communities in West Africa to engage and have critical conversations on strengthening safeguards for the sustainability of mining host communities in the subregion.
Speaking at the conference, the Executive Director of Global Rights, Abiodun Baiyewu, said the conference is aimed at bringing together the host communities to deliberate and find solutions to the common challenges that they are confronted with as West Africans.
“It’s a platform for an open and inclusive dialogue where ideas, experiences and solutions are shared collectively.
“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the wealth of West Africa’s minerals benefits the many, rather than the few and that becomes a catalyst for peace, development, and progress” She said.
In his keynote address, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr Ogbonnaya Orji, said there is need for the creation of a special squadron for the mining sector to fight insecurity and other issues affecting the mining district.
Dr. Orji stated that Africa is blessed with abundant mineral resources, ranging from gold and diamonds to oil and gas, adding that “these resources hold the promise of transformation, the potential to elevate the lives of our people, and to power the development of our nations”.
He however expressed concern that the communities where these resources are gotten from are often left vulnerable and continue to face several security challenges.
“The challenges faced by these mining host communities need urgent resolutions. There is a need for collaboration with security agencies and mining host communities to help curb insecurity in the mining sector.
“It is also the responsibility of the government to ensure that the wealth derived from our minerals is utilised for the common good, and are equitably shared among our people, the environment is protected for generation to come and that the human rights of the people are well protected ” He said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Alake, who hailed the enthusiasm of the stakeholders for embracing the ideas and proposing many pathways to achieving the roadmap, said Nigeria government shall continue to ensure good business and security for mining host communities by ensuring policy consistency and adequate security.
While commending Global Rights for continuous work in protecting and advocating for marginalized communities, the Minister charged the stakeholders to be guided by the principles of transparency, accountability and shared responsibility.
A communique issued at the end of the conference stated that sustainable West African Regional Policy Initiatives must reflect the United Nations Guiding Principles of protect, respect and access to remedies.
It also highlighted that the sub-region must expedite processes to adapt National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights.
The conference pointed out that policies on water management, and sustainable resource management should be coherent
with climate-smart mining as an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible practice in the mining industry in Africa.