NGO appeals to FG to establish mining schools in local communities
Mr Hamzat Lawal, Co-founder, Connected Development (CODE), an NGO, has urged government at all levels to establish mining schools in communities whose sole means of survival was mining.
Lawal made the call in Abuja on Thursday at the 2018 Photo Exhibition showcasing visual stories of people in marginalised rural communities across Africa.
The Co-founder said the establishment of mining schools was necessary to educate rural dwellers on the health and environmental challenges involved in mining processes.
He said it would also help to train them on more effective ways to carry out their mining activities.
According to him, most Nigerians are leaving agriculture for mining as a result of climate change, adding that the development was affecting the environment negatively, especially at the grassroots.
He expressed concern that most inhabitants of mining communities were usually neglected by government, adding that their activities were mostly characterised by high level of illiteracy.
“ Government can put miners into cooperatives; tell them to go for three months or four months training course in a mining school.
“ It could be a school that will have syllabus to teach them in their local languages and particularly focus on practical aspects,” he said.
He further urged that on completion of their course with certificates, government could issue licences, loan, credits or grants to their cooperatives to enable government regulate them effectively.
Lawal added that the NGO had been able to work in over 150 communities in Nigeria and over 30 million people all over the world.
According to him, the NGO also known as follow money started, is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that money meant to execute projects at the grassroots is spent for the purpose intended.
`Personally, we are proud because follow the money started in in Bagega community, Zamfara and now it is going to all African countries.
“Even people in the U.S and U.K want to come and learn how we are using mobile technology to bridge the gap between government and the people.”
He identified inability to access the communities as well as lacks of fund were some of the challenges facing the NGO in carrying out its activities.
“To get to Bagega at the commencement of the programme, we will have to travel about 18 hours out of which 10 hours will be to travel on a donkey or motor bike.
‘’But today, Bagega has access road.”
Moses Siasia, Chairman and founder, Nigerian Young Professionals Forum, called on government at all levels to utilise the nation resources by giving the people adequate education.
According to him, the nation has been where it is ‘’because we have not been able to utilise our people.’’
“The biggest resource of any society is its people and we have not been able to educate our people.
“The model used by those multinational companies who are mining our resources in the outside world is different from Africa.
“ This is because they know that they will continue to manipulate the collective sense of our people as a result of our inability to educate our people.
The News agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that in 2012, CODE championed the #SaveBagega campaign which brought global attention to the case of lead poisoning in Bagega community in Zamfara.
Through the campaign, Nigeria was able to garner support; nationally and internationally.
This also spurred the Nigerian government to earmark and release funds for the remediation of the lead contaminated soil which ensured that children no longer die from lead poisoning in that community.