An Environmental Rights body, Access Africa for Rights and Development Initiative (Access Africa) has embarked on a sensitization campaign on the danger of hydrocarbon pollution and its negative impact on the livelihoods, health and culture of the people.
The Authority newspaper reports that the campaign which took place in Bori, the Ogoni traditional headquarters and Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, respectively, was sponsored by Global Greengrant Funds (GGF).
During the sensitization exercise, environmentalists and ecodefenders displayed placards with inscriptions: “Say No to environmental pollution in the Niger Delta”, “We Support Thorough Remediation of the Ogoni Environment and Restoration of Livelihoods”, “Say No to Further Hydrocarbon Extraction in the Niger Delta”, among others, to drag home their point.
Strategic places such as markets and parks were also visited to pass on the messages while calling on community members to reject the return of oil exploration in Ogoni, while demanding thorough clean-up of the hydrocarbon impacted areas and the restoration of livelihoods, especially for women.
Speaking during the campaign, Executive Director, Access Africa, David Vareba stated that climate change and environmental degradation present serious threats to communities around the Niger Delta.
He said: “Large-scale infrastructure, extractive, and agribusiness projects, as well as rapid growth, have exacerbated environmental degradation throughout the Niger Delta.
There has been a concerning lack of public information in the Niger Delta on climate disasters, as well as exclusion of the public from decision-making, lack of transparency in processes related to large-scale infrastructure and the implementation of the United Nations Environment (UNEP) Report in the office of the Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP), and few or no opportunities for accountability or redress.
“Most often, marginalized and underserved communities bear the brunt of this hydrocarbon exploitation and historically, have not been included or have been actively silenced in high-level policy and legal discussions on climate change and its impact on the environment.
“There have also been reports of human rights violations and abuses against members of impacted communities, including indigenous communities; civil society; and journalists and members of media organizations reporting on these topics.”
He informed that Access Africa for Rights and Development Initiative (Access Africa) is a civil right, non-governmental, organisation driven by a vision of a better world where everyone live with dignity and have equal opportunities to thrive sustainably in a pollution free environment.[Credit: Authority]