By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—A foremost environmental organisation, Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth, ERA/FoEN, has alerted Edo people of imminent food crises in the state due to the loss of forest reserves to multinationals.
Executive Director of ERA /FOEN, Dr. Uyi Ojo, at a one-day workshop tagged Making Women’s Voice Count, in Benin yesterday, tasked women in the state to stand up for their rights and resist land grabbing by firms.
He disclosed that no fewer than 60,000 peasant farmers living in host communities in Ovia North-East, Ovia South-West and Uhunmwode Local Government areas of the state have lost their means of livelihood to deforestation.
He called on Edo State government to comply and enforce the revocation order, which the previous government of Adams Oshiomhole gazetted, charging multinationals to comply with Edo State revocation order.
He said: “Food prices are rising in the communities. People are losing their sources of livelihoods, while a particular palm oil firm is laughing to the bank.
“Today, we have reignited women’s formidable force for them to assume leadership position and to demand for their rights, including making representation to the oil firm as well as government establishment to be able to influence policy makers.
“Women must be at the forefront of this struggle. When livelihoods and water sources are destroyed without compensation, the women are the ones that suffer most from such envi-ronmental degradation.”
A former President of International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, Stella Ojeme, and the Benin-based human rights activist, Jennifer Ero, also challenged women to acquire skills by building capacity.