WIMIN moves to end child labour in mining sector
Women’s rights group in the solid mineral sector, Women in Mining in Nigeria (WIMIN), has embarked on a two-day policy dialogue in Lokoja, Kogi State, to end child labour in the sector.
The event, tagged ‘Safeguarding the Rights of Women and Children in the Solid Minerals Sector’, which started yesterday, is aimed at building synergy towards protecting the rights of women and children in the mining sector in the state.
The policy dialogue series, funded by the Open Society Foundation (OSF), in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), is a series of engagements that gather relevant stakeholders in the mining, human rights, legal, security and environmental sectors to boost inter-disciplinary collaboration and engagements and find common ground to protect women and children affected by the mining sector.
Head of Geology Department at the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), Ekiti State, Dr. Charles Oyelami, presented a paper entitled ‘Addressing Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in the Solid Mineral Sector: The Role of Stakeholders’.
According to Oyelami, the time is right for stakeholders, including the security agencies, to rise against violence targeted at mining workers and professionals.
He advised the mining workers to speak out and report to relevant agencies anytime they fall victim of harassment.
President and founder of WIMIN, Janet Adeyemi, said the Kogi event brought together some of the best brains in the relevant sectors to deliberate on ideas to push the conversations around the plight of women and children in and around the sector.
For her, whether they are actively involved in mining or just resident in mining communities, women and children bear the brunt and they must be protected.
She said: “We are grateful to OSF for the support, and other bodies like the NHRC, which have seen the need to partner us to provide shield and succour to the most vulnerable groups in the mining sector.
“Kogi is blessed with enormous mineral resources, including coal, gemstones and iron ore. Everywhere you turn, you find women subjected to all manners of hard labour in mining sites and not accorded the requisite remuneration and recognition. In many cases, they are physically, mentally and sexually abused. All of these engagements are to find ways to protect their rights and those of their children.”