Liberia: Nimba Will Not Reject New ArcelorMittal Deal; Sets Conditions
MONROVIA – Citizens of Nimba County, especially those in the affected areas of the Arcelormittal concession operation, over the weekend gathered in Sanniquillie, Nimba County, to discuss whether to agree with government on the extension of the new concession deal.
The citizens representing the youth, elderly and traditional leaders including women groupings gathered on one accord which is the Arceloremittal deal and how they can influence the Senate to concur with the House of Representatives with certain conditions.
The Nimba County Conference was a result of series of petitions presented to the Nimba Legislative Caucus and the increasing demands from citizens across the County and in the Diaspora, the Collaboration of Nimba Citizens (CNC), comprising elders, women, youth and students, and civil society organizations in Nimba County, has decided to petition the Liberian Legislature on the proposed Third Amendment of the Arcelor Mittal MDA.
Consistent with the petitions written by various Nimba civil society organizations and further synthesized under the banner of the Collaborating Nimba Citizens on behalf of the citizens of Nimba County on December 2nd and subsequently submitted on 13th December 2021 to their elected lawmakers, an All Nimba Conference was called on January 8, 2022 to inform and rally supports from the broad spectrum of Nimba Chiefs, Elders, Women and Youths whose views synced and or reflect the validation of said document.
The conference allowed all Nimba people at the meeting to express their opinions on the ArcelorMittal Liberia new deal. While some Nimba people support rejection of the deal based on Arcelor Mittal noncompliance with the terms of the Mineral Development Agreement, other cross section of the people support the new deal (extension and expansion) with preconditions which include; sufficient and legally binding commitments.
The commitments includes; that, leadership of the Advocacy group under the banner Nimba for Better AML agreement through a consultative meeting held in Ganta City, Nimba County to call for an ALL NIMBA CONFERENCE that will validate a Nimba position to be presented to the Senate as an “addendum” to the petitions to properly explain to the people of Nimba the objectives of the several petitions before the government through the Legislature, and or seek additional advice from the conference of Nimba people.
The citizens at the meeting amongst many things are demanding that; a technical working committee set up by the people of Nimba County to compliment national government in monitoring compliance with the terms and agreement in the Mineral Development Agreement relative to its corporate social responsibility component.
That AML settles all of her financial obligations to Nimba County within one year upon signing this New Deal/MDA. The Citizens also agreed that local businesses be prioritized to supply goods and services to Mital employees (Gasoline, Security services, Construction work, food etc.)
It was also agreed that there be a guarantee from Mittal Steel on compliance issues in the MDA with timeline and penalties attached. The Citizens also agreed that the annual Environmental and Social Impact Assessment reports be publicized for public consumption.
The Nimba Citizens also wants government to provide proper and effective monitoring of the environmental conditions of the entire operations areas of AML and that there be fifty percent of the AML professional jobs allocated to Nimba people to help increase employability for its citizenry upon ratifying the MDA, unless otherwise there is a skill deficit and that Nimba County be allotted fifteen percent (15%) of the Signature fees for this New Deal to support education in the county.
The CNC comprises Nimba Kwadoe, Inc. Nimba Elders Council, Inc., Daughters of the Mountain, Nimba Education Guide, Inc., Affected Community of Nimba, Nimba Stakeholder Group, Disable Community of Nimba, Nimba Chapter of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, Nimba United for Progress (NUP), United Nimba Citizens for Transformation (UNICIT) and Union of Nimba University and College Students Association (UNUCSA).
The consolidated petition will be submitted to the House Committee on Petition on Thursday, December 2, 2021, at 10:00am at the Capitol Hill. In this connection, you are kindly invited to receive your citizens and grace the occasion as your people present views from across the County and the Diaspora on this pertinent investment deal.
The conference was attended by one hundred and fifty-one (151 attendees) stakeholders from the seventeen administrative districts including the affected and the most affected communities.