Scoping Trial, Nigeria

Scoping Trials

Sustainable Futures in Africa is an interdisciplinary collective aiming to build understanding, research, and practice in socio-ecological sustainability in Africa. In order for relationships to be built, methodologies to be explored, and to achieve the shared understanding that is aspired for, the SFA network is running trial research projects. These are being run with an emphasis on the trial and error aspect, for researchers to explore the unfamiliar, social scientists exploring hard science and vice versa. Furthermore colleagues in Glasgow will take every opportunity to work with the projects in Nigeria, Uganda, and Botswana as they develop.

The Nigerian research trial will take place in Autumn 2017 with a collaborative partnership including:

The Research Question has been defined as: Prioritizing Challenges to the Development Of Mining Communities In Nigeria: The Case of Itagunmodi (Osun State) and Komu-Igbojaye-Babaode (Oyo State).

Professor Dixon Torimiro outlines the problem formulation, research methods and design below:

Background Situation

 Nigeria is a physically and climatically diverse country that is endowed with substantial natural resources. The diversity of ecological conditions ranging from sahel/sudan savanna in far northern border with Niger to freshwater swamp forest/mangrove forest and coastal vegetation in southern Niger Delta area harbours a rich biodiversity and also permits the cultivation of many food, fibre and industrial crops. In addition to the rich diversity of flora and fauna are deposits of more than numerous solid minerals, majority of them in large commercial and exploitable quantities (Awe and Ajayi, 2009; Ayodele, et al., 2013). But in spite of this endowed wealth, Nigeria is mono-product economy that is largely dominated by the oil sector which accounted for 96.4% of exports in 2011.

There is a growing commitment from both the public and private sectors to diversify the Nigerian economy consequent upon which attention is now being paid to the agricultural and mineral resources sectors. The government has recently taken steps to revive the agricultural and mining sectors.

Organized mining activities began in Nigeria between 1902 and 1923 following the commissioning in 1903 and 1904 of mineral surveys of the Southern and Northern Protectorates by the then British Secretary of State for the colonies. The Minerals Ordinance of 1946 and the Coal Ordinance No. 29 of 1950 provided the legal basis for the development of minerals and metals in Nigeria (National Minerals and Metals Policy, 2008; NV2020 Economic Transformation Blueprint: Minerals & Metals Development, 2009). The earnings from solid minerals were used to develop roads, education, hospitals and in fact develop the petroleum industry. The decline of the solid minerals industry started with the discovery of oil to the extent that Nigeria is now a mono product economy (Mallo, 2012; Ayodele et al., 2013).

As parts of the efforts to revive the mining sector, the Mineral and Mining Act was promulgated in 2007. The National Minerals and Metals Policy was released in 2008 and the Board of Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF), a collaborative effort of the Federal Government and international development partners, was inaugurated in 2013. The Mining Act reduced government participation in the mineral sectors to the role of “administrator-regulator”, and allows exploration and mining licenses to be held in full by foreign companies.

The Problem and Research Question

In spite of the absence of large scale mining until the recent on-going revival of the sector, artisanal mining, with its attendant consequences, had continued unabated across Nigeria. A better coordination of all mining activities is expected with the issuance of small and large scale mining licenses. However, there is a preference of the licensed mining companies for areas in the savannah northern parts of the country presumably because of lower mining costs and the historical antecedents of large scale mining in these areas prior to the discovery of fossil fuel in Nigeria.  This is also reflected in scientific reports on mining in Nigeria majority of which are on the northern parts (Chaanda et al., 2011; Mallo et al., 2011 Musa and Jiya, 2011; Ezeaku, 2012).

The skewness of licensed miners in favour of the northern part will inadvertently promote artisanal mining in the biodiversity rich and ecologically diverse south-western part of the country where, as recent mineral maps of the country have shown, there is equally a rich deposit of a variety of solid minerals as in any other part of the country.

All over the world, underdevelopment, government neglect, natural resource depletion/destruction of physical environment, intra- and inter-communal as well as racial conflicts, mutual distrust and breakdown of communication among all stakeholders and government authorities are usually associated with artisanal mining. The common responses to these problems have been a neglect of the communities by government and the impoverishing of the natural and social environments of the communities.

It is not clear why government attention for the exploitation of their natural resources has not been matched with equal attention of the development of the host communities. One apparent weakness inherent in the communal agitations for benefit sharing and government attention is the lack of coherence in identifying and prioritizing the development needs of the communities.

It is against this background that this scoping project is designed to identify effective methods of facilitating stakeholders’ involvement in the identification and prioritization of development challenges among the Itagunmodi and Komu-Igbojaye Babaode communities in Osun State and Oyo State of Southwest Nigeria, respectively.

METHODOLOGY

Study Area

The scoping project will be carried out in Itagunmodi (Osun State, forest ecology) and Igbojaye (Oyo State, southern guinea savanna). In these communities, a substantial artisanal mining of gold and tourmaline are respectively going on. In addition to the core business around the extracted resources, there are lots of petty trading activities that are also booming alongside the mining activities. However, as a result of no apparent host benefit from all these activities, palpable frustrations resulting often in misdirected agitations are immediately noticeable upon entry into the community.

Itagunmodi, Osun State, Nigeria

Oyo State, Nigeria:  

 

Research Approaches

A variety of methodologies for community engagement will be deployed to gather information and prioritize what the communities consider as important development needs. The effectiveness of these methods for each stakeholder group within and across the two communities will be evaluated to identify the methods that gave the most detailed and useful information. The following activities will therefore be carried out:

  1. Familiarization/Reconnaissance Visits/Community Forums
  2. Stakeholder Mapping
  3. Problem identification/Reflect approach
  4. Solution Matrix
  5. Stakeholder Engagement for responsibility-sharing

Research Project Timeline

  • June: Familiarization visits to Itagunmodi
  • July: Mining fields visits to Itagunmodi and Itagunmodi Community Hall meetings/Focus Group Discussions with stakeholders
  • August: Familiarization visits to Igbojaye
  • September: Mining fields visits to Igbojaye and Igbojaye Community Hall meetings/Focus Group Discussions with stakeholders
  • October: Report writing

In Partnership with: