The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has called for Nigerian women’s involvement in the entire value chain of exploration, production, refining of crude oil, and mining of mineral deposits.

NEITI urged the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) to lead this conversation as professionals and provide the needed guidance and expertise in this area.

Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary, NEITI, made the call on Saturday in Abuja at the fifth Nkechi Isigwe Annual Lecture (NIAL), organised by the APWEN, tagged “Diversity and Inclusion in the Nigerian Extractive Industry: An Entrepreneur’s perspective.”

Orji, in a keynote speech, said the Federal Government had identified seven strategic minerals and targeted them as a priority for promotion and investment.

According to him, the strategic minerals to be found across the country are barite, gold, bitumen, iron ore, lead/zinc, coal, and limestone.

“NEITI is ready to offer any support to help our women realize their full potential in the sector,” he said.

He underscored the need to maximize gender inclusiveness and equity in the governance of the extractive industries and broaden women’s participation and inclusivity in the sector’s management.

He said NEITI’s goal remained to work with the association to remove structural barriers that impeded women, girls, and other vulnerable groups from participating in sustainable natural resource management and other potential gender impacts of extractive activities.

“The global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which NEITI implements, is founded on the philosophy that regular disclosures of information and data in the extractive sector will promote public debate, foster civic actions, and accountability."

He urged the association to take a serious interest in the NEITI reports and use the contents to demand not just accountability but greater women’s involvement in the sector.

“NEITI, in keeping with the EITI’s mandate on gender reporting, is conducting a series of studies on the impact of extractive activities on gender.

One of these studies will soon be presented to the public. It focuses on the impact of mining in our communities through the prism of gender inclusivity and impact.

Our goal is to address the huge gap in gender imbalance in employment, investments, and decision-making in organisations in the extractive sector through empirical evidence based on data and constructive engagements,” he said.

Dr. Elizabeth Eterigho, President of APWEN, said the NIAL lecture series could be termed as a capacity development lecture series, particularly entrepreneurship.

Eterigho described the Honoree, Nkechi Isigwe, as one of the association’s founding members, who answered the clarion call in the establishment of the association in 1982.

She said given the United Nations (UN) Women Empowerment Initiative, the 2022 Nkechi Isigwe annual lecture was set to empower women, precisely, widows.

“For the maiden edition of the empowerment programme, three widows from Umuahia in Abia state residing in Abuja shall be beneficiaries of the scheme.

This initiative we believe particularly will enhance or augment the efforts of the widows in the training of their children in schools thereby, leaving a better life,” she said.

To sustain this initiative, she called on all well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations who appreciate the empowerment of women, particularly, widows, to hereby join APWEN to support this initiative.

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