Decries over polluted water, environment
Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
A group, KEBETKACHE Women Development Resource Centre has decried the sufferings, poverty and diseases affecting women and children of oil host communities in Niger Delta region.
The group stated this in Port Harcourt during 2-Day Niger Delta Women Regional Strategy Training on the Implementation of the UNEP report in Ogoni, organised by KEBETKACHE Women Development and Resources Centre.
The event which attracted women from all the oil host communities in Niger Delta region, became a platform to assess issues affecting women and children in Niger Delta oil communities and the way forward.
The Executive Director of KEBETKACHE, Emem Okon while addressing the women said it is time to fully involve women in the Niger Delta region on the mainstream of government policies, programme and development.
She said women in the oil host communities are facing high rate of poverty which has resulted to desperate sexual abuse, alleging that people who work in the oil community are now taking advantage of women and their daughters.
She noted that since the traditional livelihood of women in the oil host communities in the region has been destroyed, women have been adversely affected making it difficult for them to survive.
Okon said: “The women came with sample of polluted waters in their communities; the traditional livelihood of women has been destroyed. Oil spill affected the water, the air polluted and the environment totally destroyed. There is high mortality rate in the community which is affecting infertility”
On the women involvement in Ogoni clean-up, Okon said women of Ogoni were supposed to be the first beneficiary in the cleanup process, describing women as critical stakeholders.
Okon said, “We are here to make women know what is in the report and to know the emergency measures to be taken. We believe that women should not be left behind. They should be carried along in the emergency process and in the clean up proper.
“We want women to know what is going on to ensure that the process is holistic as recommended by UNEP report. Women are more impacted in devastation, community women must be carried along.”
One of the women from Akwa-Ibom state who participated at the event, Pastor Gloria Alexander Thomas, said her local government; Ibno is currently facing the challenges of getting clean and safe water to drink due to the activities of oil exploration in the area.
She said last year alone over 240 women and children died because of pollution and infection from contaminated water.
She said: “Our problem in Ibno Local government area of Akwa-Ibom state is the issue of safe and clean drinking water. Another issue is that we don’t have good healthcare service, if we have, what happened in 2015 over the death of women and children wouldn’t have happened.
“I want the government to assist us, we need good drinking water in our community. This is not the first time we were protesting on this issue, you can’t keep water in Ibno for 24 hours without seeing the sign of oil spill. We need clean water because most of the people affected by the polluted water are the women and children.”