By John Okeke
The Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari has charged the public to embrace gender equality and female participation in the mining sector as a strategy towards realising key objectives of the roadmap for the growth and development of the mining industry
Speaking at a workshop organised by the Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Department of the ministry on gender mainstreaming with the theme, ‘Promoting women in mining towards a shared mining prosperity’, Hon Bawa Bwari stressed the need for a more inclusive mining sector
The Minister made a reflection of what is happening in the society, citing women and children going to Libya despite the resources on ground.
He also advised that government should play a role where these resources will be attractive and accommodating.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu in his key note address, with the theme “integrating the gender perspective” implies equality between men and women to be of concern in taking all decisions.
He believed that government efforts in developing the sector cannot be fully utilised without the acknowledging the role played by women in the mining sector.
He reiterates that the fall out of the workshop will identify programmes aimed at solving the weakness of the vulnerable group in the mining societies and will ensure that both women and men have equal opportunities and benefits from the sector to contribute in the development process.
Director Artisanal and Small Scale Department, Mr. Patrick Ojeka, in his address gave the antiquity of Women in Mining in Nigeria to have been participating since 1940s, along the mineral chain; from extraction of ore to the end user, sorting, washing, weighing and transporting ore from the mine to the collecting point, and stressed that work of women in mining add extraburden to the traditional roles they play at home as wives considering the nature of mining activities which have negative physiological and socioeconomic impact than their male counterpart.
According to him, women face multifaceted challenges in this sector in terms of carrying them along when negotiations are carried out in business.
He urged the participants to make meaningful contributions towards better understanding of issues at hand for the betterment and growth of the mining sector.
The workshop was attended by the Country Director UNIDO Mr.Yomi Banjo, President of Women in Mining in Nigeria Hon. Engr. Janet Adeyemi, representatives of various Ministries and members of Civil Society of Nigeria.