As arrangements are underway for the exploration and exploitation of bitumen in Ondo State, prominent traditional rulers in Ikaleland have called on the Federal Government to revoke the licences of any exploiter who fail to comply with the provision of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act.
They also called on the licensed companies to pay attention to issues of compensation, obtaining landowners’ consent and more importantly to extension of the social and economic benefits of the development of the area.
In a petition titled written to the Ministry of Mines and Steels Development, the traditional rulers also called for strict adherence to due process of law, as prescribed in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 and the Regulations made under it, especially on the compensation and landowners consent.
The petition titled: “Re: Petition Concerning landowners’ Consent and Mineral Resources (bitumen) Exploration and Exploitation within Ikale land in Okitipupa Local Government area of Ondo State lamented that most of the companies that had acquired or obtained mineral title(s) to explore mineral resources within Ikale land had failed, refused and or neglected to obtain genuine landowners’ consent from the landowners (Ikales) as prescribed in Section 100 of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.
It stated that none of the investors or Mineral title holders in this area has entered into any Community Development Agreement as prescribed in Section 116 of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 with the Ikale people, being the landowners amongst other things.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 116 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Acts, 2007 provides as follows: “Subject to the provision of this Section, the Holder of a Mining Lease, Small Scale Mining Lease or Quarry Lease shall prior to the commencement of any development activity within the lease area, conclude with the community where the operation are to be conducted an agreement referred to as a Community Development Agreement or other such agreement that will ensure the transfer of social and economic benefits to the community.’’
The petition signed on behalf of the traditional rulers and leaders in Ikaleland, Lord Isaac Omowole Omogoroye, Copies of which were sent to the Governor of Ondo State and the Director-General Mining Cadastre Office, stated that none of the mineral title holders in this area has paid Surface Rent to the landowners, neither have they entered into any discussion on the amount to be paid annually in accordance with the provision of Section 102 (1), (2) and (3) of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.
It called on the Federal Government, through the Minister, to as a matter of urgency and necessity note direct the Director-General of the Nigeria Mining to forward the list of all Companies or individuals who had been granted Mineral title(s) or licence to operate within Ikale land particularly, on the Bitumen Block area to the Ikale Traditional Obas or their representative(s) within 30 days of the receipt of this letter.
(ii) Direct all the Companies who had been granted Mineral title(s) within Ikale land to as a matter of urgency and necessity obtain genuine consent of the Land owners (Ikale people) in line with the provision of Section 100 of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, within 30 days of notification of the contents of this letter, failure of which their mineral titles should be revoked for non-compliance.
It also appealed to the government to direct all companies that had been issued Mineral title(s) within Ikale land to take necessary steps to pay the prescribed compensation to the people in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Mineral and Mining Act, 2007 and the Regulation made under it.
It wants the government to direct all mineral title holders within Ikale land to urgently enter into Community Development Agreement with the land owners in accordance with Section 116 of the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, failure of which their mineral title should be revoked.