Lawyers Alert and the Executive Committee of the Mbayion Community met on the 13th of February 2014, to review and analyze the progress made so far in the Mbayion community monitoring and documentation of human rights project. Recall Lawyers Alert has been in this community now for 8 months building capacity and assisting the community to document economic rights violation in relation to the production of cement by Dangote Cement PLC.
The meeting was convened in the office of the President of Lawyers Alert, RA Mom who also chaired the occasion. The project which is community led, is at a stage where the community has been compiling and capturing violations in the last couple of months and passing same to Lawyers Alert for analysis. Both the community and Lawyers Alert reiterated their commitment to the project and strong desire to get to the finishing
Parties identified the following challenges:
- Expression of strong discomfort by some state officials of the project through the media
- Lawyers and other professionals feel that the presence of Lawyers Alert within the community is a threat to their business opportunities .
Positives however include:
- The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has been informally notified of the project with a view to presentation of the report when ready..
- There is near total support and encouragement within the community and notable Mbayion Sons and Daughters.
- The entire Tiv community especially the youths are very supportive of the project as expressed in major Tiv based social media networks like Ate u Tiv etc.
The way forward:
Having collated reports from various persons under different thematic areas, there is a need to carry out scientific analysis to authenticate the case of perceived violations.
The challenge now is to acquire funds to pay for the scientific analysis that are to be carried out within the community. The analysis is majorly with regard to the pollution of the environment via cement dust that reportedly stalls the development of oranges and the contamination of water.
So far Consultants that will undertake the researches have been identified. The moment they are paid their consultancy fees and other expenses, the research will be conducted and findings circulated to all relevant stakeholders.
Lawyers Alert is making efforts to establish funds for this, as persistent calls for volunteers has not yielded much.
Both parties reiterated their commitment to the cause of the project and pledged to continue to support it.
The president of YIDA expressed gratitude to Lawyers Alert for its efforts.