Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has called for the participation of Nigerian women throughout the value chain of exploration, production, crude oil refining and extraction of mineral deposits. NEITI urged the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria to lead this conversation as professionals and provide the necessary guidance and expertise in this area. Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary of NEITI, made the call on Saturday in Abuja at the 5th Annual Nkechi Isigwe Conference, hosted, labeled “Diversity and Inclusion in the Nigerian Extractive Industry: The Perspective of a entrepreneur”. Orji, in a keynote address, said the Federal Government had identified seven strategic minerals and designated them as a priority for promotion and investment. According to him, the strategic minerals found throughout the country are barite, gold, bitumen, iron, lead/zinc, coal and limestone. “NEITI stands ready to offer any support to help our women realise their full potential in the sector,” she said. He stressed the need to maximise gender inclusion and equity in the governance of extractive industries and broaden the participation and inclusion of women in the management of the sector.
She said NEITI’s goal remained to work with the association to remove structural barriers that prevent women, girls and other vulnerable groups from participating in sustainable natural resource management and other potential gendered impacts of extractive activities. “The global Extrative Industries Transparency Initiative, implemented by NEITI, is founded on the philosophy that regular disclosures of information and data in the extractive sector will promote public debate, encourage civic action and accountability. accounts. She urged the association to take a serious interest in the NEITI reports and use the contents to demand not only accountability, but greater participation of women in the sector.
“NEITI, in accordance with the EITI mandate on gender reporting, is conducting a series of studies on the gender impact of extractive activities.One of these studies will soon be presented to the public. It focuses on the impact of mining on our communities through the prism of inclusion and gender impact. Our goal is to address the huge gap in the gender imbalance in employment, investment and decision-making in extractive sector organisations through empirical evidence based on data and constructive engagements,” he said. Dr Elizabeth Eterigho, President of APWEN, said the NIAL conference series could be termed as a conference series on capacity development, in particular entrepreneurship.
Eterigho described the honouree, Nkechi Isigwe, as one of the founding members of the association, who answered the clarion call in establishing the association in 1982. She said that in view of the United Nations (UN) Women’s Empowerment Initiative, the 2022 Nkechi Isigwe annual conference was established to empower women, precisely widows. “For the inaugural edition of the empowerment program, three widows from Umuahia in Abia State residing in Abuja will be beneficiaries of the scheme. We believe that this initiative will particularly improve or increase the efforts of widows in training their children in schools, thus leaving a better life,” he said. In support of this initiative, he called on all well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations who appreciate the empowerment of women, particularly widows, to support this initiative. NAN