By Harris Emmanuel
Niger Delta women have expressed worries over the devastating effects of climate change, calling on the government to take urgent steps to mitigate the impact.
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They spoke at a one day Niger Delta Women’s Day of Action for Environmental Justice on the theme, “Building Women Resilience for Climate change” put together by Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Center.
In 2016, the NGO and her allied organizations initiated the Niger Delta Women’s Day of Action for Environmental Justice as a platform for women in communities impacted by oil extraction activities in the oil rich region to reflect on their experience, expectations, concerns and challenges as regard fossil fuel extraction, climate change, food insecurity and violence.
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To this end, December 17 of every year was adopted as the Women’s Day of Action for environmental justice and this year edition was staged in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
The event witnessed various panel and group discussion, songs and play lets to draw home the adverse effects of oil exploration and exploitation activities in the region.
In her remarks, Founder of KWDRC, Emem Okon, “Today we are coming together to discuss the climate change and impact on women and every other community members and what can be done to address climate change, and to call on government and every other stakeholder that has the influence and capacity to take action and adopt measures to address climate change..
“Government keeps shifting the date to end gas flaring and that is the reason we must keep campaigning and calling on government and mobilizing support from the public to ensure that they stop flaring has in the Niger Delta.
In her keynote address, Dr. Heoma Worlu who was represented by Prof Roibito Ekpiken-Ekanem, bemoaned that Nigeria and International Oil Companies do not follow international best practices despite the fact that they were signatories to several treaties to protect the environment.
“ Having come to the realization that the activities of the IOCs in collaboration with the Nigerian government have caused the people of the Bigger Delta more challenge than imagined and also that wherever there are challenges be it war (inter or intra), regional or global that women are the worst hit”, she said.
In a goodwill message, Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation noted that the impacts of climate change amplify the existing gender inequalities.
‘’Climate change affects women’s and men’s assets and wellbeing differently in terms of agricultural production, food security, health, water and energy resources , climate induced migration and conflict and climate related natural disasters.
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‘’For this reason, there is need to carefully consider how climate change may have varying effects on gender roles and make adequate provisions and preparations to equip the most vulnerable to better adapt to the impacts of climate change”, he said.
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