The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake has reaffirmed the significance of host communities and traditional rulers to the conducive environment required for socio-economic development of host communities.
Playing host to Attah of Igala, who is also President of Kogi State Traditional Rulers Council, HRH Ata Matthew Opaluwa, who recently paid him a courtesy visit in the office, the minister stressed the need for host communities to take ownership of mining activities and collaborate with government to ensure efficient mining operations. He restated the commitment of the Federal Government to protect rights of communities and ensure their rights.
“Whatever we can do to ensure a peaceful, operating environment, we will do. We also need the cooperation of locals in partnering with government to ensure better security. If we have peace around mining operations, we will be able to attract more investments in the mining sector. The government, on its part, is rejigging the security architecture to address contemporary security challenges beseting the sector and also factoring royalties for communities into every mining operation”, he added.
The Ata of Igala commended the minister for his efforts, thus far, in repositioning the mining sector, noting however, that unlicensed miners and those operating without requisite agreement with host communities remains an albatross, posing security challenges to locals. He sought the intervention of the Minister in addressing this whilst also advocating for prominent roles for host communities paramount rulers to protect the interests of the people.
Alake assured the monarch that the Ministry’s Mines Inspectorate would be strengthened to ascertain authenticity of mining agreements, promising inclusion of traditional rulers in signing agreement on behalf of host communities.
To ensure the payment of due royalties and protection of community rights, Alake revealed that plans are underway to reposition the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee for optimum efficiency.