Women In Mining Nigeria (WIMIN) has inaugurated the Girls-for-Mining (G4M) Club in Government Secondary School (GSS), Wuse, Abuja.
The high point of the ceremony, which held at the School Hall on Wednesday, was the induction of 51 willing and happy female students of the school into the club.
In her address, the former Minister of Education, Prof Mrs Chinwe Obaji congratulated the students, stating that mining is now the way to go. She said WIMIN is particularly concerned about the need to enlighten female students on the career opportunities and advantages that abound in the mining sector.
Obaji, who is the first female minister of education in Nigeria expressed concern that although Nigeria has abundant solid mineral resources, the country needs to encourage the younger generation, inclusive of female students, to embrace the industry.
The former minister assured the students that ‘male and female students have equal opportunities,’ and enjoined them to work very hard to ensure that they set the right goals and achieve them.
‘Pray, work very hard, be determined, and you will succeed,’ she said.
‘Men and women and men have equal opportunities and it is left for every individual to set his or her goal, and achieve them,’ she added.
WIMIN is committed to planting the G4M Club in schools as a way of enlightening female students on the career opportunities of the solid minerals sector, toward correcting the impression that the mining sector is for men alone.
Encouraging the students, Obaji said: ‘We have here with us, two very successful women who have served as ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and we are proud of them because they worked hard to rise as women,’ she said, refereeing to Amb Mrs Regina Edzuwah and Amb Mrs Ijeoma Bristol.
The former minister explained that the Nigerian economy was initially built on agricultural product, then focus shifted to crude oil, a commodity she said is on the decline.
Discussing the importance of choosing a career in the solid minerals sector, she said electric cars are now in use in the United States, noting that emphasis on crude is on the decline because it is harmful to environment.
‘Therefore the solid minerals sector is the way to go now, and Nigeria is endowed with posits of various solid minerals.’
‘What this means is that the solid minerals sector is waiting for female professionals to come and develop it,’ she said, adding that Enugu was well known for its coal deposits.
‘In United States, coal is still in use, it is still used to drive locomotive. So, we came to encourage you to open your minds and learn about the mining sector so that you will be able to appreciate the career opportunities of the sector.
The former minister assured that WIMIN will be committed to the development of the G4M Club in all schools. ‘We will inaugurate the club and continue to attend the meetings. We will ensure that you get into the universities appropriately,’ she said, but warned that the students must score good grades.
The Principal, GSS, Wuse, Mrs Kayode Funmilayo commended WIMIN for the concern and commitment for the economic future of the country, and for female students. She assured that the Management of the institution will continue to counsel the students to ensure they make informed career choices.
‘We will leverage on the lessons learnt here today, to ensure that female students achieve their goals and we will also provide enabling environment for girls to achieve their goals,’ she added.