His Royal Highness Ezeogo Martin Oyibe, the traditional ruler of Ameka autonomous community in Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, has urged the Federal Government to remove mining from the exclusive legislative list.
Oyibe made the call on Tuesday in Abakaliki at the inaugural meeting of the Federation of Mining Host Communities (FMHC), Ebonyi chapter.
The traditional ruler argued that granting states the right to control revenue accruing from mining activities would speed up development and stem youth restiveness often witnessed in mining communities.
Oyibe further noted that more revenues would come into the coffers of state governments where mining is done which would be used to develop other sectors of the economy and creats jobs for the youths.
He stressed that the 13 per cent derivation paid to states was not enough to meet their developmental needs saying that if states had direct control over solid minerals resources in their areas they would have more money to meet their needs.
“Direct control of solid minerals revenues will create more wealth for the states which will in turn create more job opportunities for the youths and stem the incessant youth restiveness often witnessed in mining host communities.
“The effect of mining activities are felt more by the host communities and every effort must be made to ensure proper compensation through payments of commensurate royalties and other entitlements to the people,” Oyibe said.
The traditional ruler said that federal government should urgently trigger a process that would lead to removal of mining sector from the exclusive list and put it in the residual list.
He further contended that the existing practice which conferred the federal government sole right to legislate, regulate and appropriate revenue generated from the mining sector was no longer in tandem with existing economic realities.
Earlier, Dr Kelechi Okezie, convener of the meeting in an address, said that the FMHC is an umbralla body holding together communities in Nigeria where mining extratives are taken place.
He said that the federation has its branches in all states of Nigeria where mining activities are done saying that Ebonyi is richly endowed with solid minerals deposits.
Okezie, Executive director, Neighbourhood Environment Watch Foundation (NEWF) said that the federation was leveraging the support of Global Rights, an international Non Governmental Organisation working to protect rights of mining host communities.
He said the federation would ensure that the rights of host communities were protected and respected by both the miners and government while communities in turn adhere to the memorandum of understanding reached with mining companies in their areas.
“We anticipate that we will have advocacy visits to the mining host communities to understand their challenges and we are to be their voices,” Okezie said.
Our correspondent reports that the meeting was attended by traditional rulers from mining host communities; artisonal miners, members of civil society organisations, environmental rights activists among others.