sharing in governance of extractive industries

Protecting Community Development Agreement in Nigeria


The Community Development Agreement (CDA) in the Solid Minerals Sector is aimed at promoting a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship between the Mining Companies and their host Communities. The CDA formed part of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (NMMA), 2007.

With this Act, it is mandatory that mining companies that want to establish mining sites enter into a development agreement with the different stakeholders and the people affected by the mining activities. The Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 states that the holders of a Mining Lease, Small Scale Mining Lease or Quarry Lease shall before they start  any development activity within the lease area  conclude with the host community a Community Development Agreement (CDA) or other such agreement that will ensure the transfer of social and economic benefits to the host  Community.

Some other included in the CDA include Community Development Initiatives, Voluntary Agreements, Indigenous Land Use Agreements, Partnership Agreements, Community Contracts, Landowner Agreements, Shared Responsibilities Agreement, Community Joint Venture Agreements, and Empowerment Agreements.

The guidelines established by the Ministry of Solid Minerals, states that the CDA must contain among other things including the social economic benefits from mineral exploration, financial and another form of infrastructural support in the social services, assistance with the creation, development and support to small scale and micro enterprises. Added to these include the methods and procedures of environment and socio-economic management and local governance enhancement of the communities.

This if properly implemented will benefit the communities and the government. Some of the benefits are, it will help the community articulate and address some of their development goals and aspiration , in addition, the process and dialogue will assist the communities in understanding the constraints that the companies will likely face in the execution of the project. It will also help both parties to establish abiding commitments and build a sense of responsibility and ownership.

However there are also some effects of the CDA in the communities and the companies, these include the agreement if not spelt clearly will appear as if the CDA is upturning the role of the government or local initiatives. In addition, the interest of some stakeholders like the artisanal miners that are not landowners may not be captured or taken care of in the CDA.

The CDA as a policy trust that protects the interest of the mining communities should serve as an important pillar for the emerging Nigerian mining landscape. We need to build community and civil society capacity to be able to engage and draft an acceptable community development agreement that meets the minimum and acceptable standard.

The Ministry of Solid Minerals and Steel Development also have a critical role to play not only as regulators but also as the watchdog to making sure each of the parties maintains the agreement reached in the CDA. The CSOs have a role in working with the community to draft a standard CDA and monitor its implementation to ensure compliance.

The Nigeria’s diversification option and the commitment by the government towards the mining sector reforms appear to have contributed in the influx of artisanal, local and foreign companies into mining communities.

With this development, it is expected that the various issues of companies and communities interest will be addressed by CDA. This no doubt will result in an improved relationship among the mining companies and the host communities thereby reducing conflicts and agitations.

Paul Ogwu, Programmes Officer Publish What You Pay-Nigeria

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