The Women in Mining in Nigeria (WIMIN) and Center for Community Excellence (CENCEX) has called on states and federal government of Nigeria to rise and do justice for women and children in the Mining host communities as these group are the most negatively affected by the activities of Mining companies.
At a forum put together by Global Rights Nigeria, the president of WIMIN, Hon. Jennet Adeyemi, decried the level of degradation and devastation in the in Mining host communities particularly in Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara state among others.
Adeyemi moved for women to be involved in decision making, policy design, negotiations and planning regarding Mining; hence the need for policy review on Mining companies/ host communities relationship.
She beckoned on Mining companies to remember the eleventh Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among others and act accordingly. She said, “Women in the Mining sector should not be sidelined, relegating women to the button is unacceptable. Women must be carried along, even people with disabilities must be accorded due recognition. Our consent must be sought after and we must be allowed to be what we want to be.”
She alerted Mining companies to be proactive and ensure that the environment is sustained for the future generation. She called the government to address health issues, gender inequality and environmental management in the sector to avert impending doom.
On her part, the program coordinator, Center for Community Excellence (CENCEX) Abubakar Ummusalma Usman, warned against a repeat of mass death caused by lead poisoning in Zamfara state between 2010 and 2013 which left over 700 persons dead and 4363 children injured between 2010 and 2013, (according to report from the Zamfara state government).
Usman noted that the people in the mining host communities have no basic needs like; good roads, schools, potable water and hospitals which makes life miserable for them. “The impacts of Miners in the host communities are horrible. It’s better imagined than seen. Women and children are the worst hit. They suffer kidney disease, liver disease, multiple miscarriage, stale birth and other terrible diseases and nobody cares.
“Must we continue to watch helplessly? Are these Mining companies not making it in billions? Would they not plough back into the host communities? Are there no practicable laws and rules of engagements?” she queried.
She called on the government to come up with legislation to mitigate the impact of Mining on women and children, adding that women should be empowered economically and otherwise to be free from undue dominance and undeserved exploitations.
“Women and children are loosing their social -economic status in the mining sector and the government has done nothing to in this regard especially in Zamfara state. Infant mortality is becoming unbecoming, there is no food security anymore because youths have jettisoned agricultural practice for Mining. There is no potable water for people, the situation is excruciating. Let the Mining companies and the government show some empathy and compassion to their fellow human being,” she implored.