The Director General of the Mining Cadastre Office, MCO, Engr. Obadiah Simon Nkom has called on leaders of three warring communities in Ebonyi State to ‘embrace peace and support mining activities in the area for the development of their communities.’
The Director General warned that if the parties fail to resolve their differences, ‘the Federal Government may exercise its rights within the law on Mineral Acts, emphasisng the ownership of the mineral resources by the Federal Government, even as State and individuals can lay claim to land.’
Nkom, who is also President, Nigeria Mining and Geosciences Society, NMGS emphasised the need to arrive at a win-win resolution of the crises, stating that ‘the worst settlement is better than good judgment.’
It could be recalled that three mining communities in Ebonyi State, namely Amaokwe, Ngwongwo and Okwe have been enmeshed in land ownership crises that is militating against mining activities in the state.
The Director General who lamented that the crises have brought mining activities to a standstill in the communities, called for amicable resolution of the crises, stating that none of the parties stand to gain anything from the crisis.
In an effort to resolve the crisis, the Director General invited the leaders of the communities and two mining companies operating in the communities, Crushed Rocks Industries Limited and Pioneer Sino Chino Ventures Limited to a meeting aimed at finding solution to the conflict.
A statement from the Agency, signed by the Head, Media, Folasade Fatoke, made available to our correspondent quoted the Director General as saying that a ‘win-win’ resolution of the conflict is desired.
Nkom called on the community leaders to rise up to the responsibility of playing their crucial roles in ensuring that peace prevails, adding that no investor would invest in a conflict-ridden community, a situation he said will militate against mining activities in the communities, consequently retarding the economic development of the affected communities.
The Overall Chairman of the communities, Innocent Offor, commended the Director General for the steps taken to resolve the crisis, while the representatives of the three communities took turns to provide historical facts and rights to the disputed land.
The three communities and two mining companies involved in the crises were satisfied with the intervention of the MCO to bring lasting solution to the crisis.
The conflict resolution meeting was attended by relevant staff of MCO and the representatives of communities involved. Also, present were the representatives of the two companies.