Women miners Bauchi safety,

Women miners in Bauchi assured of safety, protection of human dignity

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Women miners in Bauchi State have been assured of protection and the sanctity of their human dignity as they engaged in their lawful business in all the mining sites across the state.

The assurance was given by the President and Founder of Women In Mining In Nigeria (WIMIN), Hon Engnr Janet Adeyemi while speaking during an advocacy visit to Bauchi state held at Amaks Hotel aa represented by Ambassador Regina Edzuwah.

According to her, Bauchi State is richly endowed with mineral resources in commercial quantity which includes Feldspar, Marble, Kaolin, Granite, Tin, Columbite, Gemstones and others.

She said that because of this, it is expected that mining activities in the state will be a prominent feature, and wherever mining is done, women and children must be found there.

She said that in just 1 year, Women In Mining In Nigeria (WIMIN), a non-profit, non-political organization focused on women’s advancement, has built the capacity of over 1,000 women across 5 geo-political zones in Nigeria on safe and sustainable mining practices and other cross-cutting issues.

Janet Adeyemi said that this was done by empowering women to engage in safe and sustainable mining practices in Nigeria and to ensure that gender and human rights issues affecting women and children in Nigeria are properly addressed.

The WIMIN President stressed that ”In most mining sites and host communities in Nigeria, women are constantly abused, misused, overlaboured, underpaid, shortchanged and even raped by the male labourers and staff of mining companies.

”The companies also unlawfully welcome the labour of young children who should not be exposed to the mining environment yet but should be in school while in some cases, the children are stretched and overlaboured by mining companies and their wages are given to their mothers who are equally on the mining site.

Janet Adeyemi further said that ”considering the challenges above, Women In Mining In Nigeria with the support of the Open Society Foundation (OSF), has now launched a 1-year programme in 3 states of Nigeria with the sole aim of “Safeguarding the Rights of Women and Children in the Solid Minerals Sector in Nigeria”.

“And it is my pleasure to inform you that Bauchi State is one of those 3 states selected. By tomorrow, we shall commence the programme with capacity-building for the female miners here in Bauchi State. Others states on the list include Ekiti State and Bauchi State,” she said.

She stated further, “We have our states chapters established across the 6 geo-political zones in Nigeria and that has given us a national outlook.”

According to her, “Few years back, we were mainstreamed into the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development as a recognized gender-rights organization in the mining sector and currently, the Ministry through its Min-Diver Project is positioning WIMIN at an elevated altitude in the mining sector.”

Earlier this year, WIMIN was in Accra, Ghana, as part of the ECOWAS expert team given the mandate to review the draft ECOWAS Charter on Gender Mainstreaming in the Geo-extractive sector.

The WIMIN Founder added that “We have also created the Women In Mining Training Institute (WIMTI) a monthly online class on mining operations, mining opportunities and legalities surrounding mining in Nigeria and many mining operators, experts, academics and students are beneficiaries of the WIMTI classes.”

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Also, earlier this year, WIMIN established the Girls For Mining programme (G4M), setting up Miners’ Clubs in various schools and providing training and mentorship to young girls of school age with the goal of integrating them into the mining sector.

This according to her, is a component of the programme to mainstream gender in the mining sector, this time with a unique system of human capital investment for young girls, creating a pipeline for the steady inflow of skilled and motivated female miners into the mining sector.

“At this time, we have entered into a sustainable partnership with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to ensure that gender and child rights abuses in mining host communities at the grassroots are escalated to the Commission for immediate response and intervention,” She added.

Adeyemi said, “To that effect, we are currently developing a mobile application where incidences of gender and child rights abuses at the mining host communities can be streamed live and reported simultaneously to the NHRC for immediate follow-up.”

She explained that the mobile app will be dynamic and will incorporate other features of offline reporting, reporting by proxy, and anonymous reporting among others saying, “In addition to that, we are setting up a toll-free hotline to entertain reports of gender and child rights violation in mining host communities for immediate and rapid response.”

“As a global organization, we form an integral part of the Women In Mining in West Africa (WIMOWA), Association of Women In Mining In Africa (AWIMWA) and the International Women In Mining (IWIM),” she added.

The WIMIN President further said that currently, partners include: the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); Open Society Foundation (OSF); Ford Foundation; Global Rights; National Human Rights Commission (NHRC); Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD); Federal Ministry of Environment (FME); Solid Mineral Development Funds (SMDF) and Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN).

She concluded, saying that “It is our pleasure to be in Bauchi State, the Centre of hospitality, the land of honour. At this time, we are expressing our interest to identify with you and to see ways we can work closely with your office to ensure that gender justice is mainstreamed in the solid minerals sector in Nigeria.”

The activities of WIMIN revolve around capacity building, health and safety, sustainability, good and inclusive governance, economic integration of women through digitization into the mineral and metal market, promotion of responsible mining, sourcing and value chain addition, taking advantage of our network regionally, in Africa and globally.

Currently, it has a membership base of over 5,000 women cutting across Artisanal and Small Scale Miners, Mining Operators, Mining Experts, Geologist, Lawyers, Engineers, Students of Geology and Mining Engineering, women in mining host communities, and Male Advocates (known as HE4SHE Advocates).

 


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