BLUE PRINT NIGERIA
As the flooding period draws closer, women drawn from crude spill impacted communities in Bayelsa state have undergone a two-day training aimed at building a network of informed women that can enforce environmental changes, especially in ensuring proper plastic and chemical waste management that meets the international standard in their homes and communities.
According to the organizers of the training that held in Yenagoa, Center for Environment, Human Right and Development (CEHRD) in partnership with Netherland Embassy in Nigeria, the training is aimed at ensuring women are involved in the decision-making process when it comes advocacy for environmental justice by communities.
Speaking shortly after the training, the Head of Environment and Conservation Unit of CEHRD, Dr. Kabari Sam, said the training was pertinent because it getting to the flooding season, a time women who own most of the farmlands that would be flooded would need to start to play role in terms of cleaning their environment.
Explaining further, he said “we intend to organize them into a network called Women for Environmental Justice Network (WEJN). The first training was done in 2014 and this is the second one. So what we will do after now is to hand them over to NOSDRA, so that they can help blow the whistle when there is a spill in hard to reach communities for speedy response and remediation.”
Taking the women through a lecture titled “understanding environmental discrimination”, Dr. Kabari explained that disproportionate sharing of wealth and challenges that come from crude exploration is the major reason why there is a prolonged crisis in the Niger Delta region.
He charged the women to engage their community folks, especially that are engaged in artisanal refining, just as they engage multinationals about the dangers of unhealthy crude oil extraction and refining practices, adding that women and children are usually the most affected when there is any form of environmental pollution.
He said: “The major problem is that crude oil is drilled in the Niger Delta region and the money that comes out of it is shared across all the states in the country but we don’t share the soot that comes from it with others, we don’t share the acid rain that comes with crude oil exploration and we don’t share the pollution of our environment with others that share our money with us. So that what we call Environmental Discrimination the major problem of Niger Delta.”