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April 23, 2024
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Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Director General, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) with Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary/CEO, NEIT

IWD: NEITI seeks women inclusion, decries 18% participation in oil, gas sector

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By Emmanuella Anokam

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has decried the 18 per cent participation of women in the oil and gas sector, and called for inspired inclusion and gender justice.

The NEITI said its oil and gas industry report showed that all top high level management positions in the industry were dominated by men.

Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary/CEO, NEITI, said this at the commemoration of 2024 International Women’s Day (IWD) by NEITI on Friday in Abuja.

The International Women’s Day is celebrated globally every March 8 by advocating for equity, inclusivity, gender justice, wider opportunities for women, career advancement without discrimination and security in work environment.

The 2024 IWD campaign has the theme: “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.”

Orji said in NEITI’s 2021 oil and gas industry report, employment data from 56 out of 70 oil companies indicated that out of 19,171 employees, 15,639 or 82 per cent were men while 3,532 or 18 per cent were women.

“The disclosure is far from the national average of 35 per cent. From the same gender balance data, all top high level management positions in the industry are dominated by men.

“And in NEITI, out of five Chairs of NEITI Board so far, one and in-fact the founding Chair is a woman. And of four Executive Secretaries/CEOs so far, one is a woman.

“And to highlight the special accomplishments of women, only the two women that headed NEITI, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili and Dr Zainab Ahmed were elevated from NEITI to ministers, while one landed top positions later at the World Bank.

Orji said NEITI organised the event to domesticate ideals of the IWD into its operations, in line with global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) requirements, while promoting public awareness on the importance of women participation.

He said it deliberately created a special unit, under the Policy, Planning and Strategy Department called the Gender and Environmental Unit to ensure women’s inclusion in extractive governance and EITI processes, report on gender distribution and participation.

He said the EITI standards required implementing countries to promote greater diversity in decision making; document and publicly disclose women participation, gender, social, environmental issues in the extractive Industries.

According to him, EITI reports are also required to highlight the risks that women are confronted with in rural host communities where oil, gas and mining exploration activities take place.

This, he said, would ensure that the natural resources endowments in those communities did not deny women and other vulnerable groups access to basic sources of their family existence, health care facilities and environmental safety.

“And where this is the case as it is in most communities in resource rich countries in sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria, EITI Reports are required to recommend and document measures to address such risks,’’ he added.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event featured Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Director General, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) as the Special Guest of Honour to mark NEITI’s 2024 IWD celebration tagged, “Inspired Inclusion.”

Orji, who described her as a remarkable woman, a renowned broadcaster, widely travelled, experienced journalist, a technocrat-politician, a parliamentarian and woman activist, said her story/experiences could inspire others.

“She has joined us to speak to NEITI ladies and guests, answer questions on career development, work-life-family balance, privileges/challenges women face in work environments, risks, opportunities and the way forward,” the executive secretary said.

Dabiri-Erewa, in a presentation tagged, “Women in the Work Environment – Opportunities, Risks and Challenges,” said being a career woman could be very challenging but women should always aim to overcome with determination.

She encouraged women to avoid being held down, inferiority, not to entertain fear in the line of duty; rather to uphold integrity, self-respect, discipline and show determination and strength.

Dabiri-Erewa, who urged women to strive for inclusiveness and equitable society, said women should deal with principles and should not be afraid of criticism as they pursued their goals in life.

Also speaking, Falmata Kwaku, Head, Gas Processing Plant and Installation, Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), called for mentorship, support and building a community that could uplift women and creating inclusive environment.

In her remarks, Mrs Stephanie Etareri, Assistant Team Lead, Gender and Environment, NEITI, reiterated its commitment to promote gender justice across the value chain in the extractive sector.

Etareri said she hoped that Dabiri-Arewa’s speech would inspire changes in the dynamics of the gender inclusion. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Salif Atojoko

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