From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
A Rivers State based Non Governmental Organisation, Lokiaka Community Development Centre (LCDC), has again trained 60 Ogoni women in preparation for the forthcoming cleanup and remediation of Ogoniland by Hydro-carbon Pollution Restoration Project, HYPREP, a federal government agency.
The women beneficiaries of the training were selected from oil impacted communities across the four Local Government Areas of Ogoniland, Eleme, Tai, Gokana and Khana.
In her address at the training, Martha Agbani, Executive Director, Lokiaka Community Development Centre, disclosed that the training was on environmental monitoring and environmental sustainability for Ogoni women from Oil Impacted communities across the four LGAs of Ogoniland.
Agbani stressed the need to train the women, noting that HYPREP may carryout cleanup any moment in the Ogoniland following the UNEP report on the exercise, adding that women must not be left out in the process.
According to Agbani, “Women are those that actually use the land. So they should be part of the exercise and know if the cleanup they are carryon in going on or not. If they have remediation, women should know, if they are doing restoration women should also know and that is why we are giving them the necessary skills to understand the environment before, during and after the cleanup.
“This is a follow up to the training we have conducted. What we are looking at is if we have made women to be contributors of the environment, by way of planting the mangroves, then they should be keepers of that same environment. We are also using this opportunity to let them know that they cannot say they are looking for money without knowing how to make the money. So if they have so planted their mangroves and people are coming to destroy the land and with the monitoring skill they have they will be able to stop.”
One of the resources persons at the training, Dr Sam Kabari, noted that women can participate in monitoring in the cleanup that will be undertaken by HYPREP.
He further noted that “One of the things UNEP recommended was inclusiveness, for communities to be included in the Ogoni cleanup process. So we thought that one of the ways women can be included in the cleanup process is to allow them to monitor the progress of the cleanup and remediation processes when it actually start.”
Kabari stated that the training was centred on exposing to women on how they can be part of soil, air and water remediation in Ogoni cleanup.
A participant, Benedicta Oguru, a native of Ejeama, in Eleme LGA, commended Lokiaka for the impacted knowledge, added that the experts taught them about monitoring and the emergency major in the cleanup exercise.
She told The AUTHORITY that “We were taught about the emergency major: like the water, soil and air pollution. In the area of water, they made us to know like an opener, that the water we have been consuming since 2011 till date has been contaminated even after the emergency and we have drinking this waters.”