WOMEN SAY NO TO DIVESTMENT WITHOUT ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION
The Power Up Project in Nigeria implemented by Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre and the allied community-based women organizations in the project sites has noted with dismay the announcement by Shell to sell off their assets to investors without necessary consultations with communities that have suffered decades of environmental destruction from their operations. We have noticed that decision has been taken to sell Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), to a consortium of investors, Renaissance Africa Energy. Already, SPDC has divested OML 17 and OML 29 without guidelines. Similarly, Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Exxon Mobil Nigeria Limited, and Total Energy Nigeria Limited, are also set to divest all their onshore assets without engaging host communities and correcting damages done to the environmental and peoples’ wellbeing. They are running away o!
As affected women in the Niger Delta we are very much worried and concerned about the swift nature of this divestment plans, because we know that government has not provided guidelines that ensure all the pollution issues are resolved before SPDC and AGIP and Total Energies will go. The companies in question have not set up women development funds to take care of the women that have suffered the consequences of their oil extraction business.
Women in the Niger Delta, clearly suffer the deprivations engendered by oil exploitation. Women play significant roles in earning the family’s subsistence income through agricultural activities, they are also required to process farm produce for meals and trade the balance for income. These gendered engagements with the environment forces women to navigate ecologically degraded and crude oil affected swamps to gather periwinkles, collect firewood, fetch water, fish, etc. Crop yields have also been seriously impacted, with steady decline in the harvest of crops like yams, cassava and plantain. On some occasions, harvested tuber crops have been found to contain crude oil deposits in them. The intensity of pollution from crude oil extraction activities has directly affected the productivity of women’s income-generating activities and engendered an alarming rate of poverty.
Women do not know the reputation of new companies buying the assets of Shell and AGIP. Dear Government, we hold you in high esteem and we encourage you not to approve the divestment plans of Shell and AGIP and Exxon Mobil until polluted farmlands are cleaned up and restored by shell and AGIP and Exxon. Gas flares are going on in Ebocha, Ibeno, Umuechem, and many other places. Women in Otuabagi community are still suffering impacts of oil extraction. Farming does not work again! Fishing business is affected. Hunting has also suffered. Women have experienced health problems as a result of exposure to hydrocarbons! The manner of this divestment is not in the interest of community people. The right things should be done!
We condemn this attempt by the International Oil Companies to abandon the responsibility of restoring the damaged ecosystem in the guise of selling off assets.
We use this opportunity to call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to ensure there is No DIVESTMENT WITHOUT ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION!
Government should ensure that companies divesting their oil assets commit to cleaning all polluted sites in the Niger Delta and restoring lost livelihood opportunities.
The Power Up project empowers women to assert their Right to Say No.
We are saying no to IRRESPONSIBLE DIVESTMENT !
Joint Statement, signed by Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre, Okwuzi Women Association, Ibeno Women, Mba Okase Women, Abua Women Association