For a Safer Earth, Healthier Climate

Niger State: Foundation Urges Collaborative Efforts To Address Root Causes of Illegal Mining

By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja

Women in Mining Africa (WiM-Africa) have called on the Niger state government to collaborate to educate citizens and find lasting solutions to illegal mining.

The call came following the arrests of nursing and ageing women during a raid by the Niger State Ministry of Mineral Resources

In a statement by Richflood Foundation, the implementing partner for Women in Mining Africa (WiM-Africa), they expressed deep concerns about the arrests of nursing mothers, teenagers, and children at illegal mining sites across Niger State, as reported by Vanguard Newspaper.

According to Comfort Asokoro-Ogaji Director WIM-Africa, “While we commend the Niger State government’s efforts to curb illegal mining activities and protect natural resources, we urge a compassionate and sustainable approach to addressing the root causes of such issues.

Richflood Foundation and WiM-Africa observed that the recent raids conducted by the Niger State Ministry of Mineral Resources resulted in the arrest of these vulnerable groups and highlight the urgent need for comprehensive socio-economic interventions in mining communities.

“As an organization working with WiM-Africa and pursuing its objectives in Nigeria through the ‘Voices of Children from the Pits’ Program, we are dedicated to promoting the welfare of women and children in mining areas. 

“We at this moment want to acknowledge the compassionate decision made to release nursing mothers and elderly women promptly. These individuals must be treated with dignity and provided with the necessary support to transition out of hazardous and illegal mining activities.”

“In the same vein, the prevalence of women and children in illegal mining underscores the need for targeted educational and economic support programs. Richflood Foundation and WiM-Africa are committed to implementing the “Voices of Children from the Pits”

(VOC) program, which aims to rescue children from hazardous mining sites, raise awareness about the dangers of child labour, and facilitate access to education for these vulnerable children, she added

“Following the ongoing VOC program, we propose a collaborative effort with the Niger State government to organize a workshop on August 26th, 2024” 

She said the workshop will raise awareness among women in mining communities about the importance of education for their children and gather information about affected children to facilitate their enrollment and retention in formal schooling systems.

“We have also provided a few recommendations for the consideration of the state government and stakeholders in the state and in Nigeria.”

First is Educational Opportunities, to break the cycle of poverty, Economic Empowerment to support nursing mothers and other women in mining communities with alternative livelihood options is crucial as well as Vocational training and microfinance programs to empower these women economically, reducing their reliance on illegal mining.

She reiterated that WiM-Africa and Richflood Foundation stand ready to collaborate with the Niger State government and other stakeholders to create sustainable solutions that protect both the environment and the welfare of women and children in mining communities. We look forward to working together to achieve these goals.

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