A team of Niger Delta media practitioners in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states have pledged commitment to the protection of the environment and pursuit of environmental justice in the region.
At a media parley convened by a nongovernmental organisation. Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Center in Port Harcourt which highlighted the devastation of communities and the attendant challenges which are not being given attention by government and the oil and gas extractors, because of very marginal media mention, the journalists promised to help change the narrative.
They resolved therein to form a unified body, Niger Delta Journalists for Environmental Justice to collaborate with Kebetkache and oil producing communities to give voice to host communities, capture their challenges, needs and concerns and bring those issues to the public sphere.
They noted that with the position of the region as the main economic base of the country the infrastructure decay as manifest in the Federal roads, absence of quality health centers to address peculiar health challenges from extraction and Hugh unemployment make it imperative that the Niger Delta should take center stage in the coming campaigns for 2023 general elections.
Officials for the new body are Chief Constance Meju Chairperson, Pius Dukor, vice chair, Mr Etrno Ibanga, Secretary and Mariam Daniels, .
Earlier, executive director of Kebetkache Obomowang Emem Okon had told the journalists that although much happens in the region, many community happenings are not in the media sphere for which reason, the NGO was reaching out to expand advocacy impact via the media.
She said Kebetkache in deepening advocacy for better attention from policy makers for oil and gas communities would be holding roundtable dialogues with women and youths on the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, natural resource management and divestment as well as conduct townhall meetings with stakeholders. In addition, there are plans to hold community environmental tribunals from which case studies for follow up actions for successful resolution of environmental violations would be derived.