Mining: Impact On Women And Girl Child

Besides income generation and corporate social responsibility which is hardly implemented in Nigeria and other African states, extractive activities have led to forced eviction, loss of farmland and access to water. This has a huge impact on the livelihood of women and children taking most of the dire burden.

Although women bear the grave implication of mining activities, they are often being excluded from development processes in considering mining deed with many communities using culture and norm as a justification. Empirical evidence shows that many women in the mining environment have suffered abuse. In the case of Niger-Delta, as a result of mining activities, good numbers of women and children suffer from health challenges bothering on the hearing problem, airborne and water associated illnesses, tuberculosis. Besides the health challenge, women and the girl child suffer from teenage/ unwanted pregnancy and sexual abuse from the male mine workers.

Besides the Niger-Delta, women in Nasarawa, Plateau, Yola, Kogi, Osun, and Katsina states where mining activities go on bear the burden of taking care of their families, protecting them from harsh pollution. And even at that, there is little or no medical attention been provided either from the state or the mining companies.

The implication therefore is, the women and children in mining environment suffer human right abuse, are exposed to HIV/AIDS and other Sexual Transmitted Diseases STDs, low literacy rate, increased in alcohol addiction, violence, rape and prostitution.

Of great concern is that the extractives companies and the state seem not to have adequate knowledge of the dire implication women and children suffer as a result of the mining operations. And that informs why they are doing nothing for a pragmatic intervention to address the issue that comes with women and extractive. It worries the mind that in spite the fact that women do most of the labour in the extractive site, they benefit less and remain as perpetual servitude in the whole mining process and economic reward system.

As the Nigerian state plans to diversify her revenue generation via mines and solid minerals exploration, gender and mining must be the state prime concern, and protecting women and children must be at the heart of the state. Norm and traditional belief that deny women access to compensation and participation in community consultation must be treated as a repugnant test against the woman and the girl child.

Part of the women empowerment must be to grant women access to land, compensation for land, increase their access to credit loan and give them the social safety intervention programs that will boost their economic and financial independence.

Oge Ochoma, Publish What You Pay-Nigeria