Amputated Miner Girl Gets Scholarship Award in Kogi

By Adadareporters

A miner-girl who got amputated after an accident that took the lives of her fellow workers in Kogi State, Comfort Ezekiel, has received scholarship award from the Mineral and Miners Centre’s Initiative for Women Miners in Africa (IWoMA), which wants her to return to school and leave the mines.

Comfort earned N1,000 a day for manually loading crushed rocks onto a truck to eke out a living in the present economic hardship and afford school fees.

Comfort and her colleagues, after breaking and loading Felspar on this fateful day, climbed the loaded truck, and sat on the stones to get a lift to their destination.

Unfortunately, the truck collided with another trailer and the rocks they helped to load crushed them as they fell off the truck with the boulders sadly flying over them as well, instantly killing some of her colleagues in the process.

Comfort, now amputated, is a native of Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi State. She spent one year in the hospital and was supported by the Kogi Women Miners Welfare Association headed by Mrs Janet Ogoru Ahiaba, who saw to it that the girls and women were treated at the hospital, picking their bills.

Ahiaba was said to have deposited her car with the hospital as collateral while she sourced for funds for the hospital bills from good-natured Nigerians.

It was learned that MMC’s IWoMA has awarded Comfort a scholarship to further her education.

The director of MMC, Dr Comfort Asokoro-Ogaji, in an interview said she was confident that Comfort will succeed despite the challenges, adding that she had a disability in her legs but certainly not her brain.

She said: “Another girl involved in the accident and still at home with her scars is Helen Chiloba, a 13-year-old girl from Bassa LGA in Kogi State who also spent a year in the hospital, and needs to return to school as a matter of urgency but one donor cannot do much. She has now returned to Odugbo village.”

During the event organised to mark the International Women’s Day celebration anchored by MMC’s IWoMA, the group said the event was aimed at sensitising women, minerals ore off-takers and general stakeholders on the need to ensure responsible social and economic mining practices in rural communities where women and girls are the majority artisanal workers in mine sites

The Centre called on miners to embrace responsible mining, saying that off takers of mineral ores in mining communities where women and girls are the miners should trade responsibly in the interest of fairness to the locals most especially women and girls.

The local government area councils should also take on their obligations to educate their miners on the standard practices, she said.
“To do the right things at the local government and state levels is not capital intensive, does not require huge funds; what it requires is the commitment to serve the people and zoom into the villages and communities and get down to work. There should be consistent training organized by the local and state governments in solid minerals trading, agriculture and other aspects of the economy that ought to boost the livelihood of the people and not lead them to their graves. We are all humans and should have human feelings and be concerned about these women,” Dr Ogaji-Asokoro said.

Adadainfo is an online newspaper reporting Nigerian news. Email: Phone: 08071790941

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