Citizens of the most affected communities in the Arcelor Mittal Liberia Concession areas in Yarmien Administrative District Nimba County are again mounting pressure on the authorities at Arcelor Mittal to resettle farmers, construct clinic, build water facility, and rehabilitate major roads within the district before mining Mount Gangara and Yealeewton new mountains. Arcelor Mittal is currently opening road to the sites in the district.
The citizens concluded their first meeting in Gbapa Town recently, with attendants comprising of representatives of the three towns; Bonla, Lugbeyee and Gbapa which are said to be badly affected by the Arcelor Mittal mining operations in the district.
Speaking to the News Dawn Nimba Correspondent in Gbapa Town where the first meeting was held, the spoke person of the Group, Alberto Neinbeh said it is frustrating that citizens in Arcelor Mittal Concession areas should endlessly suffer.
Mr. Neinbeh maintained that the most affected communities in Arcelor Mittal operational areas in the county have not benefited anything from the company since it began active operations in 2010. He insists that this time around, if the company is to operate on Mount Gangara and Yealeewton, the locals in these affected communities must benefit.
Neinbeh indicated that the Group will continue to advocate until their demands are met. Supporting the Concern Citizens’ statement, the District Representative hopeful, Armstrong Gobac Selekpo threatened a lawsuit against Arcelor Mittal, if the company fails to compensate farmers in its concession arrears.
Selekpo stressed that AML, which is a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest mining giants, has failed the citizens in its concession area and it is now time to settle its corporate social responsibility. Recently, the Mines Resettlement Coordination Committee of Nimba issued a notice that the company will not pay for crops recently planted on and around Mount Gangara and Yealeewton; where AML is about to expand its mining operations.
The paper which was signed by Reginald Mehn, Chairman on the Mine Resettlement Coordination Committee further said, the Company will only pay landlords for their crops that maybe affected by the upcoming operation but not recently planted crops.
The announcement also said, residents were massively planting cash crops in the areas to attract compensation from Arcelor Mittal. But Selekpo said the company has no right to dictate to the people when to plant crops on their land. “If the local incite AML not to pay for crops planted by the citizens, we will issue a lawsuit,” he said.
The Concerned Citizens plights continued to ring belt in the ears of Nimbaians in the Zolowee demonstration in July 2014. In 2014 a group called Torgative Progressive Youth based in Zolowee one of AML concession communities headed by Saye Zuweh led a group of protester to press home their demands for the affected communities benefits. But the protest turned violent leading to the destruction of the mining company’s properties worth millions of United States Dollars. Zuweh is still at large, while others are still in prison.
By Allen P. Lablah -Edited by Othello B. Garblah