By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
An environmental protection organisation, operating in Nigeria under the aegis of Green Concern For Development, GREENCODE, has cautioned Akai Efa community residents to be weary of those who come to live in thier community with the aim of engaging in illegal exploitation of mineral deposits without taking cognisance of the fact that lives of the community residents would be put at risk.
The National Coordinator of GREENCODE, Mr. Edem Edem, gave the warning yesterday in Calabar, during a stakeholders’ engagement on the cost of corruption in the extraction industries in Cross River State.
The engagement, organised by GREENCODE in collaboration with BudgiT Foundation, is organised to enlighten community residents on havoc caused by extractive industries.
The coordinator stated that communities where minerals like oil are extracted are sometimes left in abject poverty with nothing to show, while on the other hand those engaging in the illegal exploitation end up becoming so rich than the owners of the mineral deposits, calling for a change in the narratives.
Edem urged the community leaders to be vigilant, so that miners do not extract minerals resources and plunged the economy of the host communities in abject poverty.
He said, “Communities where resources are extracted are usually the poorest and we have to change the narrative.
“Resources in the state should be harnessed in a way that they are used for development.
“If we are not vigilant, after extraction, we will be left with the adverse effects of such extraction.”
The coordinator cited an example of Crush Rock Industry, which existed in Old Netim, but left with zero benefit to the community.
Edem called on stakeholders of the extractive industries to rise up to the occasion, to get the narrative changed, calling for strategic development plans for the host communities.
The coordinator maintained that the essence of the gathering is for stakeholders to rub minds and generate ideas on the way forward.
In his remarks, one of the resource persons, William Itorok, stated that the benefit captors are the ones who usually destroy a community and not the contractor.
Itorok stated that these people cause revenue due to communities not to get to them, charging the community residents to organize themselves in a lawful manner and ensure that capacity of some young persoms are built in the area of leadership, so that the people can speak for them when the need arise.