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Oil Spill: Advocacy Group Demands Compensation for N/Delta Women, Children

By Obiabin Onukwugha

An advocacy group, YERABA Women Foundation, has joined in the call for oil multinationals, especially Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), to restore the Niger Delta environment as they divest.

Shell and other multinationals had in recent times come under fire over planned divestment of their assets, as environmental bodies and civil society organisations condemn the decision.

According to them, the decision by the oil multinationals to leave the Niger Delta environment without restoring it, is gross irresponsibility and therefore not acceptable.

Ira Theophus, Coordinator for YERABA Women Foundation, who spoke with NatureNews correspondent during a Climate Change tour to Ogoni spill sites in Rivers State, recently, called for adequate compensation for women and children of the region, as the companies prepare to leave.

She said crop yield has reduced drastically due to years of oil spill arising from operations of Shell and other oil companies.

She said: “We went to some oil spill sites in the Niger Delta here and a lot of the local farmers are women. And these lands have been damaged, their agricultural produce is so small now and then the crops are dying. These women have been impoverished by these oil spillage and so we are just here to speak out for them.

“A lot of them are the breadwinners of their families so when their livelihood have been taken away from them it affect them alot so that’s why we are here to tell Shell to be responsible.

“They are no longer operational but the damage are still here so they should be accountable.”

Theophus pointed out that the essence of the tour was to sensitise the women and build capacity on how they can demand for the restoration of their livelihood.

“We are going to keep up with the advocacy work, building capacity, telling them how they can get justice and try and see how we can influence policies surrounding climate change and all that.

“It is just to keep the awareness alive and for them to know that they shouldn’t accept defeat when their environment has been damaged”, she said.

She urged Shell to be accountable for their actions in the Niger Delta, saying, “Give us back our environment. If you cannot leave it better, at least leave it the way it was when you came and compensate these families. A lot of them have been displaced as we speak.

“So, don’t leave empty handed. Compensate our women and Children.”

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