Insecurity, Rights Violation Scaring Women from Mining Business

Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

Members of Women in Mining Nigeria (WIMIN) and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), have regretted that the twin evils of insecurity and rights violation have scared away women from mining business in the country.

They urged the federal government to provide adequate security at mining sites while charging the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to beam its searchlights on how women’s rights were being abridged, thereby making them irrelevant in the sector.

This was contained in a communique issued at the end of a 3-day capacity building workshop that was organised by the groups in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital and signed by the National Welfare of Women in Mining, Ambassador Regina Edzuwah, and the Ekiti State Coordinator of Women in Mining, Dr. Yemisi Ajisafe.

The communique that was made available to journalists, reads: “The NHRC should work towards increasing awareness of services they render to the citizens of Nigeria. Also, the mining host community should also integrate women in negotiation and issuance of consent and provision of compensations.

“There must be establishment of gender-responsive policies and systems in companies and cooperatives. Most formal mine sites should begin to establish policies, procedures and rules that increase the security of women and men on sites, increase the status afforded to women mine workers in the community, and provide mechanisms for redress as well as the implementation of legal and policy frameworks that protect the rights of women in the mining sector.

“Government should take specific actions for women inclusion and should be implemented through the encouragement of women led mining cooperative societies, integration into the mining sector and overall empowerment.

“There must be psychosocial support to victims of human rights violation, prompt medical care, establishment of medical facilities and procurement of first aid at mining site, prompt removal of victims from hazardous mining sites and enforcement of free and compulsory primary education for children.”

The coalition added that the urgent need to safeguards the rights of women in the solid mineral sector could not be over-emphasised because of the significant role they play in all the value chain process in that area of the economy.

The groups stated that Nigeria must take full advantage of its diverse mineral resources to grow an all-inclusive economy by adopting responsible mining policies that are hinged on the principles of good governance, sustainability, equity and fairness.

“The sole aim of this training is safeguarding the Rights of Women and Children in the Solid Minerals Sector by addressing issues such as laws, policy and regulations affecting the mining sector, Gender Rights and Child Rights in the Mining Sector, Mining Financing, and Safety, Health and Environment.

“This investment in education seeks to equip women with the requisite knowledge and skills needed to initiate and sustain a significant boost in women’s participation and career advancement in both ASM and industrialised mining.

“This training is an initiative supported by WIMIN and OSF, among others, to ensure that women are trained and empowered to engage in mineral processing, value addition and other activities across the value chain.

“This is in congruency with the plans of the federal government to bring an end to the exportation of unprocessed mineral resources, beginning in 2023,” they said.

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