…says women most affected over non-inclusiveness
By Ike Uchechukwu Calabar
Environmental Right Action/ Friends of the Earth, ERA/FoEN have asserted that the incident of land grabbing and deforestation was becoming increasingly alarming in various Cross River communities.
They also said that due to the neglect of women and their non-inclusiveness in the scheme of things a lot of them suffer more because of the effect of land grabbing.
Briefing newsmen in Akamkpa, one of the Coordinators, Mrs. Philomina Umoh stated that women were the worst-hit adding that land grabbing must be discouraged in order to stop food insecurity and total erosion of livelihood sustainability options in communities.
She said: “Land grabbing affects the women more than it impacts men basically because the forest serves as the storehouse to the women where they harvest products for livelihood.
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“Land grabbing has contributed immensely to global warming/climate change and extinction of snails, bush mango, salad, etc.
“That our cultural heritage and values are eroded as our children have lost touch of our cultural values and have fewer ideas of what some species of wildlife look like.
“The emergence and entrance of multinationals and sudden take of our individuals, families, and community lands were done without the prior consent of the rural dwellers.
“On the hand, women and community members who have lost their major sources of water for domestic, cooking and drinking purposes as a result of the activities of Greenfield agricultural companies have led to diseases and breakout of epidemics as there is no clean water for use in the area.
” But in some cases where boreholes are provided it is either that the boreholes have failed, some does not bring forth clean water but brownish and murky water quality unfit for human consumption.
Speaking further, she said of inclusiveness by government and multinationals was the major cause of dissatisfaction amongst women and communities at large.
She said: “The lack of inclusiveness by government and Wilmer in the land allocation, acquisition and land resources governance processes in Cross River State especially in Akamkpa and Biase LGAS constitute the major causes of dissatisfaction among the community.
“Women should be involved and incorporated into community decision making. The expansion of plantations into forested landscape should be enforced and completely put to a stop in order to prevent deforestation and biodiversity loss as it is the mainstay of livelihood for the rural communities,” she said.