MONROVIA-It appears that the current Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) signed by Arcelor Mittal, the world’s largest Iron ore company, does not meet the taste and approbation of most Liberians who are vehemently stating their disapproval and as far as the terms and conditions are concerned.
Few weeks after the landmark signing of the Agreement, more and more citizens are expressing dissent, with the current opposition coming from a group of citizens from Nimba who wants the government to compel AML to complete its first obligations contained in the agreement in 2007.
Citizens who said they are not totally against the Steel giant want the current MDA signed by the government which needs to be ratified by the legislature to be put on hold until a comprehensive review of AML activities in the first agreement.
Representing the pressure group from Nimba, Armstrong Selekpo claimed AML failed to carry out most of the things contained in the first MDA.
For instance, he disclosed that the company said it would have, within five years, constructed or transformed the only hospital in Yekepa to a referral hospital. “But this is not the case. Rather, they have failed and they sent people to Sanniquellie government hospital on referral cases.”
“Also, within five years, 25 professionals would have been employed in top management position. But that is not the case. They should have safe drinking water. But this is not the case. It is disappointing,” he said on Truth FM breakfast program Wednesday.
Selekpo indicated that instead of looking at the past agreement to correct some of the lapses, the company induced the government with a new agreement of eight hundred million dollars.
“They are even adding years to that. This is against the people of Liberia and Nimba,” he said.
The Nimba Pressure group believes the government should not do any business with the Company in details until they comply with the first agreement, stressing that is not against the company, but the way in which Mittal is proceeding is wrong.
He has called on the lawmakers not to ratify it. That doing so, would show disrespect to the people of Nimba.
He said since 2007, there have been 32 anti-Mittal Steel demonstration and three major riots, some of which led to the destruction of properties and death as well.
Selekpo said, they were shocked to have read on the Executive Mansion website that AML was about to sign a contract with the government.
“Which in my view was criminal in nature. You agree by law to do this (referring to Mittal Steel). The MDA is a law.
This is not the first time MITTAL has come under criticism since signing the MDA with the Liberian government last month.
It can be recalled that last month, a lawmaker from Grand Bassa County, Matthew Joe condemned the company for not going by its agreement in that county. Also, the former senator of Grand Bassa county and former president Pro-Tempore of the Liberian senator (the only senator who rejected pick-up from Mittal Steel in 2007) took the company to court for failing to abide by the agreement.