• Friday, March 01, 2024
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Over 300 women to converge on Uyo to demand environmental justice from Nigerian Govt

Over 300 women to converge on Uyo to demand environmental justice from Nigerian Govt

Over 300 women drawn from the Niger Delta States are to converge on Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, to demand for climate justice from the Nigerian government.

A press statement issued by Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre and her allied community women organisations said the event will be used to mark the Niger Delta Women’s Day of Action for Environmental Justice.

Enem Okon, executive director, Keketkache Women Development and Resource Centre, stated that the Women’s Day of Action for Environmental Justice contributes to the building of a grassroots eco-feminist movement in the Niger Delta.

She noted that the event strengthens women’s resilience and builds their leadership capacity to lead local advocacy actions for eco-friendly extractive practices, noting that the marking of the Day of Action enhances women’s mobilization in the Niger Delta for economic and political empowerment.

According to her, the Day of Action has promoted the visibility of community women’s initiatives to campaign for climate justice and hold government accountable for the degradation of the environment in the Niger Delta.

She argued that women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change.

Read also: ESG: Nigeria fails on the environmental, social and governance fronts

“We are suffering direct impacts of the climate crisis. In Niger Delta. Women face inequalities, human rights violations, exclusion from decision-making and governance processes, poverty, lack of property ownership, poor living conditions, vulnerability to violence, lack of quality education, and poor health facilities”.

She said that during times of conflict, which includes climate change, women suffer additional stressors, especially, increased domestic abuse, sexual harassment, and rape impairing women’s vulnerability.

The Executive Director Keketkache, explained that the Niger Delta became the boom camp of international oil companies (IOCs) for oil and gas activities, by virtue of the Petroleum Act of 1969, without consultation with the people, who live in the Niger Delta.

She observed that the Federal Government of Nigeria mandated the IOCs to explore and exploit the vast terrain of the Niger Delta for hydrocarbon deposits for the benefit of the IOCs and all the people of Nigeria, an act of “generosity” that discounted the disposition of the real owners of the hydrocarbon deposits, the subject of ownership having been redefined by the provisions of the Petroleum Act.

The human rights activist lamented that the revenue generated from oil mineral resources does not benefit the people, particularly women.

“The people have limited livelihood opportunities and lack basic social services. Though women have engaged in campaigns and advocacy against the degradation of their environment and pollution, actions to influence and demand accountability from government and corporations are inadequate and need to be amplified.

Read also: Bayelsa seeks UN assistance on environmental challenges

“The Niger Delta communities are male-dominated and so patriarchial. Women do not participate in decision-making processes. Despite the fact that a lot of investment is ongoing in the natural resource industry, poverty is still rampant in oil-bearing communities and development programmes do not impact marginalised populations including women.

Kebetkache and her allied organisations have been building for the past 7 years to advance a grassroots eco-feminist platform in the Niger Delta.

The Niger Delta Women’s Day of Action for Environmental Justice, which will be held from November 27 to 28, 2023, will be an important moment for Kebetkache, her partners and allies to build a unified understanding of the climate crisis, the situation of the women, the failed negotiations, and build common political action, towards real solutions to ecological and social crises facing the Niger Delta.

The theme of this year’s event is, “Building a Feminist Economy for Ecosystem Restoration in the Niger Delta”.

With the Niger Delta Women’s Day of Action for Environmental Justice, by 2030.

Kebetkache envisions a Niger Delta, where community women lead resistance actions against oppressive governance and environmental practices and exercise their consent rights, promoting inclusive governance and development.