By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
The Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN) has hinted on imminent food crises in the State over loss of forest reserves in Edo State.
It tasked women in the State to stand up for their rights and resist land grabbing by Okomu oil palm Plc.
The Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Dr. Godwin Uyi-Ojo said this at a On-Day workshop on Gender inclusiveness tagged: “Making women’s voices count”.
Over 60, 000 peasant farmers living at host Communities in Ovia North East, Ovia South West and Uhunmwode Local Government Areas of the State have lost their means of livelihoods to deforestation.
He called on Edo State government to comply and enforce the revocation order which the previous government of Adams Oshiomhole against the multinational company which he also charged the company to equally comply with Edo State revocation order.
“Food prices are rising in the Communities. People are loosing their sources of livelihoods. Okomu oil Plc is laughing to the Bank while the people continue to suffer on a daily basis.
“Today, we have reignited the women formidable force for them to assume leadership position and to demand for their rights including making representation to Okomu oil Plc as well as government establishment so that we are 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 people that suffer most from such environmental degredation”, he said.
A former President of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Stella Ojeme, and a Benin-based Human Rights activist, Jennifer Ero, challenged women to acquire skills by building capacity.
In their separate presentations on the topic: “women empowerment and advocacy messaging”, the duo, tasked women to pay due attention to their education and their Children.
The Executive Director, Foundation for Good Governance and social Justice, Austin Osakue who gave a brief historical background of gender issues, said: “Gender equality is the men’s battle which women must pursue to advance further their rights and earn respect in society.