The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, and other critical stakeholders in the extractive industry are seeking data to address gender and environmental issues in the sector.
Speaking at “Workshop on the Development of Frameworks for Gender and Environmental Impacts Reporting in the Extractive Industry” organised by NEITI in Abuja, the National Stakeholders Working Group Chairman, Olusegun Adeyemi Adekunle, who was the keynote speaker, said data were critical in making important decisions in the industry.
According to him, data were needed to enable citizens engage in the debate about their rights and demand improvement of their conditions.
“We need data that would help government to design policies to improve the conditions of our target communities and the environment.
“We need data that would help us to know if we are making progress with our current policy tools and methods. We must also find out if we need new strategies and instruments to achieve gender inclusion and environmental sustainability.”
He noted that the main instrument for disclosing gender and environmental data in the extractive industry was through the annual Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative reports, stressing the need to ensure that the most vulnerable groups in the society were not only protected from the harmful effects of resource extraction but also enjoyed the benefits.
Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, NEITI, Mr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, said the National Stakeholders’ Working Group, which was inaugurated on Tuesday, would develop a framework for gender and environmental impact reporting.
He said there was a need to mainstream gender and environmental impact reporting within existing government systems and institutions equipped with the mandate and capacity to do so.
“With the implementation of data mainstreaming and systematic disclosure, the relevant institutions will begin to take on both responsibilities to generate and publish data in real time,” he said.
He noted that while NEITI was reporting industry data through the traditional process of data collection and reconciliation, the long-term goal was to mainstream disclosure practices.
Abbah Suleiman of the Federal Ministry of Environment said all projects currently being executed had the Environmental Impact Assessment, making the processes internationally acceptable and recognized.
On her part, Esther Nkechi Udo of the Ministry of Environment noted that illegal mining had created a lot of problems on the environment, stressing that the ministry spent millions of naira every year to reclaim some of the abandoned mining sites.
She said the activities of artisanal miners were colossal, stressing that there were a lot of women and children in the sector which must be protected.