Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
A group, Women in Mining in Nigeria (WIMIN), yesterday urged the federal and state governments to as a matter of urgency arrest the continuous sexual exploitations and gender abuse currently ravaging the solid mineral sector of the country.
WIMIN, who sighted the scenario in a mining community in Ire-Ekiti, Ekiti State, noted that as a result of the situation, eight out of every 10 girls in the community are pregnant, and “these girls are between the ages of 13 and 16.”
The President/Founder of Women in Mining in Nigeria, Janet Adeyemi, gave the hint in her opening remark at the organisation two-day National Summit in Abuja.
Adeyemi said only six percent of women were represented across board in the mining sector, stating that: “They must be protected, encourage and mainstreamed into the man-dominated sector and not taking advantage of them.”
According to her, “The exclusion of women in critical decision making, displacement, loss of lives, and lack of financial support, emotional trauma and environment degradation is the most challenging factor hindering women’s growth and contributions to the country’s economy through the sector.
“Just about last year, we successfully conducted our programme on mainstreaming gender and gender justice in the solid mineral sector in Nigeria and building on the tremendous success of that programme, and we also made a commitment to embark on a second phase to further consolidate our efforts.
“I am delighted to announce that we have successfully completed the second phase of the programme, and this summit officially marks the culmination of our year-long endeavour.
“We conducted in-depth research on the levels of gender abuse and child abuse in the solid minerals sectors of Bauchi, Kogi and Ekiti States. Our research revealed numerous cases of abuse in the sector that urgently need to be unveiled and addressed.”
Adeyemi said: “In Bauchi State for instance, private stakeholders raised the alarm regarding the increasing incidents of rape at mining sites. Although, government officials acknowledged this issue, they expressed their commitment to addressing it. In Ekiti State, we encountered an organised mining sector consisting of five interdependent subsectors. The participation of women in the mining sector in Ekiti State is high, and overall, the solid minerals sectors in the state is accommodating to women.
“However, we observed gaps concerning child sexual exploitation in Ekiti State. Despite free education, many female children in Ire-Ekiti, a mining host community, are discouraged from attending school due to extreme poverty. “Parents in Ire-Ekiti rely on their young daughters for financial support, and some parents even pressure their teenage daughters to engage in relationships with men for money. As a result, eight out of every 10 girls in Ire-Ekiti are pregnant, and these girls are between the ages of 13 and 16.”