NIGER DELTA WOMEN INTERNATIONAL RESOURCE, ENVIRONMENT & DEVELOPMENT CENTRE,NDWIRED CENTRE COMMEMORATES WORLD EARTH DAY, APRIL 22 2020
As the world commemorates Earth Day and the 50th anniversary of the event, we join hands with all of humanity, men, women and children to mark this day, an epochal timeline, set aside to cause humanity to pause, think and take Climate Change Action in line with the 2020 theme,Climate Change Action, a focus on the condition of mother earth, our home.
This year, all of humanity is called to focus on action to mitigate the impact of Climate Change, a ravaging state of global sized anomie, set off by pressures of modern living, uncontrolled emissions of ozone layer depleting carbon dioxide and methane from industrial activity and compounded by a philosophy that places profit above consideration of the health of mother earth and all humans, plants and animals that depend on her well being for their survival.
The earth and all its inhabitants, including 7.8billion human beings and uncountable number of other species, that depend on the earth’s lands, rivers, oceans and air face unprecedented and unimaginable threat to life as we know it.
In the Niger Delta where NDWIRED CENTRE has structured its intervention work on women, communities, environment protection and development, the failure to put the wellbeing of citizens first, in the past decades by successive administrations means that millions of women who depend on the land and waterways for their livelihood as farmers and fisher folk, are the major victims of the impact of climate change. These impacts include rising sea level which has led to the wiping away of several coastal communities in Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa States, perennial floods,higher temperatures and resultant drought in some areas, poor agricultural yield and other life threatening consequences for women and their families.
In the midst of these baleful realities, although the Nigerian government is signatory to several instruments on Climate Change including the 2015 Paris agreement, nationally not much traction has been achieved in the area of activating processes, to give life to the effort on Climate Change at all levels of government.
Twenty years after the return to civilian governance rooted in constitutionalism, environmental rights are still largely not justiciable for millions of citizens who seek justice in matters of land ownership, loss of human life, livelihood and pollution.
Nigeria depends largely on the exploitation of fossil fuels to earn revenue for national sustenance. At the same time, in additional to decades old degradation wrought through the activities of the multinational oil companies, a deliberate system of political and economic patronage that largely shuts out local inhabitants of the Niger Delta from legal participation in the oil industry, has given rise to a brutal local artisanal refining sector, run by a combination of well organised, armed networks of locals, naval officers, soldiers and militia that exert unimaginable damage on the Niger Delta’s fragile ecosystem including seafood nurseries. The process of ‘cooking crude’ contributes to massive soil and water pollution as well as, the creation of á damaging soot plume that overhangs cities in the oil bearing areas, especially Port Harcourt.
Therefore, on this occasion of a day devoted to issues affecting the wellbeing of the Earth and the life it sustains, NDWIRED CENTRE calls on the government to put in place urgent structures and processes to fast track efforts to halt the ravages of Climate Change and the attendant peril to life on earth in the following areas:
*Compel the oil industry to end gas flaring in the oil bearing communities. The gas usually flared, should be processed to power a long awaited industrial revolution that would move Nigeria away from its debilitating focus on fossil fuel exploitation that contributes massively to the production of carbon dioxide and methane, the greenhouse gases that trigger Climate Change.
*Decriminalise and structure the artisanal refining sector, to ensure that community persons, including women and girls are able to participate legally, safely,guided by the highest environmental safety standards to earn an honest living there within a given time-frame of ten years, as the country restructures and works to wean itself off the current unsustainable dependence on an economy built around the exploitation of fossil fuels.
*At communal level, encourage a shift to more sustainable sources of energy including solar power, wind and bio gas to relieve the pressures brought on by flared off gas and the deleterious consequences of artisanal refining of crude oil and its massive impacts on the Niger Delta and global environment.
*Deepen the culture of tree planning in the country, and including environmental awareness and Climate Change mitigation in the educational curriculum from primary school to tertiary levels in the country.
*Alongside this, the creation of an enabling environment through economic policy and legal enactments on land to empower citizens especially women and girls, to participate in sustainable commercial agriculture adopting organic methods that create wealth, stabilise families, communities and support a healthy environment and mitigate climate change.
As an organisation committed to Climate change action, NDWIRED CENTRE will work aggressively and in support of women in the communities, traditional institutions, civil society organisations and media, government at all levels, the State and National Assemblies and international organisations to compel action on Climate Change to save lives and livelihoods of millions of women, their families and communities.