Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre and her allied community women organizations is marking the Niger Delta Women’s Day of Action for Environmental Justice – 17 December 2022. The Women’s Day of Action for Environmental Justice contributes to the building of a grassroots eco-feminist movement in the Niger Delta.
The convergence to mark the 7th Day of Action will bring together women from the Niger Delta states to speak out against the effects of climate change, particularly in light of this year's devastating floods and will hold on 19th December 2022 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state. The forum aims at intensifying its campaigns on Climate Change and the harmful effects that the damaging oil and gas extraction development model has on women in the area. The campaign has contributed to strengthening solidarity building among groups across the communities, amplifying women’s voices on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), oil revenue benefits (13% derivation fund). This year the forum is creating a platform for grassroots women, who are directly affected by flood to share experiences, present their case studies, build solidarity with frontline communities around the call and call for action! The December 17 Day of Action marked by women since 2016 has contributed to increased women’s voices for accountability and transparency in the oil and gas sector.
“Who shall fight for us in Okunbiri? We are displaced with no hope of tomorrow. We have lost our dear ones; our livelihood has been destroyed! We need justice!” – Cynthia Bulubiere, Gelegele Community
“Flood kills, disorganized and impoverishes women. Act to save the Niger Delta. Federal Government, dredge the rivers, complete that Dam! Save Niger Delta from Extinction. Niger Delta Governors show concern o! Feed and assist flood victims! Chief Constance Meju
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has reported that 1.3million persons were affected by the 2022 flooding, 603 persons reported death and over 108,393 hectares of farmlands destroyed. This year’s flooding is worst hit Nigeria has experienced, as it has created humanitarian crises and compounded the economic challenges in the affected area. In Rivers state, the floods were ferocious and brutal, residents of several communities in located along the sea banks of Orashi River and its tributaries were sacked. In Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area of Rivers state, over 20 communities were submerged by the flood and for the agrarian communities, this indicates grave danger for food security as their farmlands were washed away. Some communities are inaccessible and totally cut off from goods and services. Therefore, the convergence serves as a forum for community women to discuss their experiences, needs, coping mechanisms, and expected solutions.
Despite the disproportionate impacts of pollution and environmental degradation, women are not included in processes of benefit sharing in the oil and gas sector. Yet, women are impacted more from the effects of Climate Change. Poverty is widespread but most prevalent in rural communities where only about 27% have access to safe drinking water and about 30% have access to electricity. Development is stifled by the absence of basic infrastructure- transportation, telecommunication, electricity, water, skill acquisition centres and quality education.
The convergence on 19th December 2022 will bring together women farmers, fisherwomen and petty traders who will lead conversations on flooding and coping strategies to promote ecosystem restoration and to build a women’s economy. The forum will also be utilized to advocate for increased development programming for enhanced women economic power.
Stop Destroying our Forest! - Dr. Josephine Crossdale. Come over to ONELGA and help us! – Shepherdess Peace Mgbenwa
However, on 17th December 2022, community women are taking actions to condemn climate change, flooding and destructive oil extraction practices that has left their farmlands devastated, that has brought promoted land-grabbing, that has polluted water bodies, air, and food system. Join the women in solidarity on 17th December 2022, take action wherever you are condemning oil spillages, gas flaring and join voices with the women to call for lasting solutions to flooding and other climate change manifestations in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
We invite women and men across the Niger Delta and beyond to TAKE ACTION, share their stories and advocate for a better community!!!