The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, yesterday cautioned against the removal of mining from the exclusive list in the Constitution, saying it would fuel agitation in the country.
Saraki who was represented by the Director, of Artisanal and Small Scale Mining at the ministry, Mr. Patrick Ojeka, disclosed this yesterday at a two-day High-Level National Policy Dialogue themed: “Mainstreaming Gender in the Solid Mineral Sector in Nigeria,” organised by Women in Mining Nigeria (WIMIN) in Abuja.
The project supported by Ford Foundation and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), is being implemented in Ebonyi, Edo, Osun, Plateau and Taraba states to advocate the integration of gender equality perspectives in mining.
Saraki said: “Having mining in concurrent list incidentally in a country like Nigeria, that we have a central system of government, it is going to be a difficult battle because it will lead to other agitations.
“Already, the oil-producing states are agitating to control their resources, which is the mainstay of the economy of this nation and if the government have not ceded that; if you will now remove mining from exclusive to the concurrent list, there will be agitation for the removal of crude too, because don’t forget the fact that oil operations are equally an aspect of mining and if that is removed, where should the country stand?
“So, we should be very careful about that. It is a very tough issue and I will appeal that the nation looks at it carefully before we hurt ourselves,” she explained.
The minister added that the government had initiated many policies to mainstream gender in mining.
She said, “the concept that has been in existence has not restricted any woman from entering into the mining sector, and the government has worked assiduously to provide an enabling environment for all entrants into the industry.
“Therefore, there is no criticism of any sex; do not forget the fact that when they say gender, by its interpretation, it is for men and women, but here in our climes, we are looking at it as a women’s affair, no. Gender covers all and the government has done a lot to provide an enabling environment.”
Earlier, the Founder and National President of WIMIN, Janet Adeyemi, called on the government to address limiting factors militating against women’s participation in mining in Nigeria for maximum productivity.