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How women play leading roles in COMEG – Prof Opafunso

By Palma Ileye

Management of the Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientists, COMEG, has called on women and women-inclined groups to participate in mining trades and activities, stating that mining and geosciences activities should not be misunderstood as a business that is limited to only men.

The Registrar/CEO of COMEG, Prof Zacheus Opafunso made the call during the inauguration of COMEG Cooperative and Building Committee in Abuja on 6th July, 2022, officiated by the President of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, NMGS, Alabo Charlesye David Charles.

Opafunso said COMEG will continue to give relevant support to women individuals and women groups who wish to participate in the development of the sector, provided that it is in line with the mandate of the Council.

According to him the management of the Council has called on eligible women to approach the Council for registration and certification in order to add value to the worth of the services they render to clients.

He said the economic diversification goal cannot be pursued by men alone, adding that COMEG was committed to gender balance in line with the National Gender Policy.

“We encourage women across the mining sector in all states of the federation to join hands with the public and private sector to pursue the realization of set goals,” the Registrar said, adding that the current management of the Council has made strategic efforts to facilitate the participation of women in the activities of COMEG.

The Registrar, who commended the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite for his commitment to the growth and development of the Council by giving the directive for Review & Amendment of COMEG Act 40, 1990, said a Technical Committee on Stakeholders Meeting for the Review of the COMEG Act of 1990 (Act CAP C33 LRN, 2004) has been established, stating that it is Chaired by a woman – Mrs N. C. Odili, Director Legal Services, MMSD and has another woman as member.

Opafunso commended the Odili – led Technical Committee for effectively coordinating the funding and organising of the Stakeholders Meetings of 5th and 6th July, 2022, stating that it demonstrates the ability of women to impact the sector if given the opportunity.

“Since I came on board as Registrar of COMEG, women Geoscientists and Mining Engineers have been given opportunity to play prominent roles in the Council,” he said, adding that ‘the Chairperson of COMEG Cooperative Society and Head Office Committee, Hajiya Safinatu Mohammed Sani was a woman that has demonstrated the ability of women to impact the sector.

“Hajiya Sefinatu Sani is a COMEG-Certified Geologist and also a Fellow of the Nigeria Mining and Geosciences Society, NMGS,” the Registrar said.

While saying that women have very important roles to play in the realization of the economic diversification goal, the Registrar explained that upon resumption of office, a Women-in-COMEG-Desk was instituted, with a dedicated WhatsApp group to attend to the peculiar needs of women professionals who are registered by COMEG, adding that the Desk also seeks to encourage eligible female professionals to register with the Council.

Discussing other important roles that women have played in COMEG over the years, Prof Opafunso recalled that the first Acting Registrar of COMEG was a woman – Dr. (Mrs) A. B. Durotoye, adding that women continued to serve on the COMEG Council till date.

He went further to explain that three women served in recent Councils of COMEG namely, Dr. Mrs Stella-Marie Sonuga, Madam Rose Ndong and Mrs Rosemary Adedoja, stating that COMEG will continue to play its regulatory role in the development of the mining sector with regard for gender balance.

“COMEG will continue to promote gender equality in line with the National Gender Policy of Nigeria, and we want more women to understand that they stand a great chance to develop themselves by taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by COMEG in line with the National Gender Policy of Nigeria,” he added.

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