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Int’l Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantation: ERA, Women Demand Environmental Justice

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As part of activities to mark this year’s International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, on Monday led some women impacted by industrial plantation expansion in Edo State to the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Edo State council, wherein they registered their displeasure against oil palm companies, whom, according to them (women), have subjected them to untold hardship.

International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations, is a day for organizations, networks and movements to celebrate resistance and raise their voices to demand, “Stop the Expansion of Monoculture Tree Plantations!.”

The “protest” by the women led by the Executive Director, ERA/FoEN, Barr. Chima Williams, was codenamed Women Led Action Against Deforestation, Land-grabbing and Gender Rights Violations Associated with the Industrial Plantation Model, and was themed: ‘Women Rights are Human Rights. Plantations are not Forests.’

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READ ALSO: Oil Palm Companies: RSPO Deceptive, Promotes Communities Rights Violations, Says ERA/FoEN

Speaking, the Executive Director, said ERA/FoEN is committed to protecting the Edo State environments and the rights of the citizens.

While stating that no individual including ERA/FoEN can single handedly do such work, The ED sought partnership from the NUJ and Edo State Government, saying with a collaborative efforts Edo environments and the rights of her citizens would be surely protected.

On her part, Rita Uwaka, Programme Manager, Forest & Biodiversity, ERA/FoEN, lamented the grave impacts of deforestation to the environment, saying “it affects men and women but it has more aggravated impact on women because they continue to be connected to food productions.”

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Presenting their petition to the chairman, Edo NUJ, the aggrieved women under the auspices ‘Women Impacted by Industrial Plantation Expansion’, expressed worry over creation of policies and transfer of land without the engagement of women, saying it affects them and those that depend on them.

The petition which was read by Mrs. Gladys Osaghae, to the NUJ chairman on behalf of other women, called on the Edo State Government and the Federal Government to support and invest in communities and women-led solution such as agroecology which, according to them, support food production and local food economy.

The petition reads in part: “Stop new concession agreement that clears out forest at the detriment of women and those that fall under our care.

“Our forest is our life. Support the creation of economic livelihood alternatives for industrial plantation impacted women and their families.

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“Enact legislative and regulatory reforms that strengthen women’s rights related to the expansion of industrial plantation.

“Join voices with women around Africa and the world to denounce any violation, abuse, intimidation, harassment and violence against women in the industrial plantation model across all communities territories,” the petition added.

READ ALSO: ERA/FoEN Pushes For Zero Waste Environment

Receiving the petition, the Edo NUJ chairman, Comrade Festus Alenkhe, urged oil palm companies operating in the state to obey labour laws which state that a certain percentage of employment should be given to indigenes of the communities they operate, just as he called on the companies to obey rights of their host communities and stop any form of human rights violations.

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Alenkhe, while thanking ERA/FoEN for taking such responsibility, called on other NGOs domiciled in the state to emulate ERA by standing for citizens rights.

Women who came under the auspices to deliver the petition were drawn from host communities such as Odiguetue, Obaretin, Aifesoba and Uroho among others.

 

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Tinubu Appoints New MD, Board Chairman For NPA

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of a new Managing Director and Board Chairman for the Nigerian Ports Authority.

This is contained in a statement issued on Friday by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, titled “President Tinubu appoints new Managing Director and Board Chairman for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).”

Tinubu appointed Dr. Abubakar Dantsoho as the Managing Director of the NPA while Senator Adedayo Adeyeye was appointed the Board Chairman.

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Dr. Dantsoho holds a Doctorate in Maritime Technology from Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom, and a Master’s degree in International Transport from Cardiff University of Wales, United Kingdom.

READ ALSO: Edo: Police Arrest Three For Cultism, Recover Arms

“Before his appointment, he had served in various roles in the Nigerian Ports Authority as assistant General Manager; Technical Assistant to the Managing Director; Port Manager, Onne Port; and Principal Manager, Tariff & Billing,” the statement partly read.

Adeyeye, a seasoned lawyer, journalist, and politician, was a former Minister of State for Works and former Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District.

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The statement added that “the President expects the new leadership of this pivotal agency to deploy excellence in the discharge of their duties to enable efficient port services and improved industry outcomes.”

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Politicians Must Allow NDDC To Breath – Jonathan

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The former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has urged politicians not to over stretch the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, as this could adversely affect execution of projects and retard development in the Niger Delta region.

Jonathan noted that as an interventionist agency for the oil producing states, the NDDC holds the mandate of bringing development closer to the people and that the agency came as a child of necessity with a strategic role to improve the environment, provide infrastructure and improve the livelihood of the people of the region.

He recalled that the first leadership of the NDDC led by Onyeama Ugochukwu as MD and Chief Timi Alaibe as the executive director finance and administration, EDFA, showed some clear leadership and that the people of Niger Delta began to see some clear direction.

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Speaking at a 3-day Niger Delta Stakeholders Summit 2024 organized by NDDC in Port Harcourt on Friday, former President Jonathan who was the chairman of the occasion said that after that leadership, the activities of the Commission began to slow down and its impact was not well noticed.

READ ALSO: Travellers Suffering On East-West Road, Diri Tells Tinubu

“But with the present leadership, people from the Niger Delta have seen some light. Having listened to the conversation of this summit from Wednesday interrogating issues, I was impressed that things have taken a different look in the Niger Delta. It shows clearly that the current leadership intends to move NDDC to a proper direction.

“I will request for us who are the political class not to over stretch the NDDC so that they can perform. I am happy that Godswill Akpabio is here. He is the most senior politician. He has to work with others so that NDDC is not under too much of stress. I know what I am talking about”.

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Jonathan expressed delight over the present management of NDDC, adding that one of the greatest problems of the NDDC is the issue of abandoned projects. “Infrastructure projects that were done by NDDC and were abandoned have become a curse. NDDC must have a way of managing its infrastructure when completed.

“They can on their own continue to maintain their roads. Alternatively, they can liaise with the governors for the states to take over the maintenance of the roads. We should begin to see how to build the Niger Delta without hydrocarbon”, he said.

READ ALSO: Drama As Women Fight Dirty Over Man In The Street Of Malia While On Vacation

On his part, the Senate President, Dr. Godswill Akpabio blamed some Niger Delta stakeholders from the Ogoni extraction of Rivers state for frustrating the completion of work on the East West road through a petition to the then President, Muhammadu Buhari.

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Akpabio said that the Ogonis led a delegation to the President when he was the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs and told him that the East/West road project should be removed from the Ministry to the Ministry of Works.

According to the Senate President, about N75billion was procured from the Sukuk funds for work on the project but since it was transferred to the Ministry of Works which had no funds to work on the project, the money could not be utilized for the purpose it was secured.

Akpabio expressed satisfaction with the work the leadership of the current NDDC is doing to move the region forward. “We in the national Assembly

 

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Travellers Suffering On East-West Road, Diri Tells Tinubu

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Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has lamented the collapse of the East-West road, calling on President Bola Tinubu to hand over the reconstruction of the road to the Niger Delta Development Commission if the contractors engaged by the Federal government would fail in delivery.

Diri, who acknowledged the President’s approval of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road project, said that though the approval was commendable, the reconstruction of the East-West Road was a priority.

“Our region is in dire need of development. Everything has been said by everybody here, and for me, there is just one thing that I would say.

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“Prior to today, the journey between Yenagoa and Port Harcourt is either one and a half hours or one hour. For those of us who even come with the convoy, one hour you are in Port Harcourt, but today, I travelled four hours between Yenagoa and Port Harcourt. Our people are suffering. That road has collapsed.

READ ALSO: Japa: 4 Ways Nigerians Can Migrate, Get Jobs In Canada

“So, while we appreciate Mr. President for the coastal road, there is a need to immediately go into the East-West road. If that contractor does not have the capacity, please Mr. President, hand over that road to the Niger Delta Development Commission,” Diri said in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Friday at the 2024 Niger Delta Stakeholders Summit themed “Renewed Hope for Sustainable Development in the Niger Delta Region”.

Diri, who said he was devastated by the experience of travellers along the road, said he chose to shelve aside his planned trip by air from Yenagoa to Port Harcourt for the summit to personally witness the nightmare of users of the road.

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“I was arranged to travel by air and I told myself ‘those who are traveling on that road are Rivers people, are Bayelsa people and Niger Delta people and if they are suffering, let me go and see their suffering’ and I couldn’t believe what I saw today.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Scores Killed, About 200 Students Trapped In Jos Collapsed School Building

“Some people have been there for one week. Some have been there for two days. That is not the Niger Delta that we want to be. That is not the Niger Delta our forefathers dreamt about. And so I appeal particularly to our own son who is here representing Mr. President to take this message to Mr. President and let them act fast on the East-West road,” Diri said.

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, represented Tinubu at the summit on Friday.

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Diri, however, appreciated the President for “prioritising the Niger Delta by appointing a board on time and a management team on time.”

He called on Tinubu to ensure that there is a complementary approach to the execution of the project to ensure there is concurrent construction from both ends in Lagos and Calabar.

READ ALSO: Four Female Niger Delta Teen App Developers For World Tech Summit In USA

“We have also witnessed recently the construction of the coastal road that is going to run from Lagos to Calabar. And we want to appreciate and thank the President for that.

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“However, I would like to appeal that as the construction is commencing from Lagos, let it also have a concurrent commencement from the Calabar axis of the road,” he said.

The Lagos-Calabar Coastal road project will traverse nine states along Nigeria’s coastal shoreline while linking the A1, A2, A3, and A4 highway corridors vertically crossing the western, central and eastern regions of the country, north to south.

Starting from Lagos and terminating in Cross River State, the over N15 trillion highway project will include a spur to the north-central part of the country.

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