The women of Akwukwu-Igbo in Oshimili North local government area of Delta State have lamented the continued marginalization been meted at them by the Delta State Government under the Okowa administration and Norsworthy Farms and Allied Industries Limited.
According to the women, Akwukwu-Igbo community has been in total darkness since the inception of this present administration and this has crumble the economic development of the agrarian community.
The women in a statement during a sensitization program organized by Community Development Advocacy Foundation, CODAF, an non governmental Organization to mark International Women’s Day celebration.
Speaking on behalf of the Akwukwu-Igbo Women, Pastor (Mrs) Grace Ogbo disclosed that the Management of Norsworthy Farms and Allied Industries known for Oil Palm Plantations Business in Akwukwu-Igbo and the Delta State governmen have turned deaf ears to the plights of the community.
“Despite the acquisition of over 3,000 hectares of farmlands of the Akwukwu-Igbo people, the Palm Oil company do not care about the welfare depriving us from farming
According to her, “The implication of the Land Grabbing exercise has rendered the community far less endowed as women no longer have lands for agricultural purpose.
Also, Mrs. Julie Elumeze pointed out that the community has been without electricity for about 7 year now, saying; the last the community had electricity was in 2013 and since then energy has not been restored even though the community host the Oshimili North Local Government Area.
“We did not have or own market in our community does not have market and the only health facility in the community is without equipment and medical personnel.
Our roads are in worst state and our little farm produce are been destroyed by pests occasioned by the menace of cattle rustlers or Fulani herdsmen”.
“We are appealing to the government to come to our rescue by addressing the issues raised and take a step further to provide us with soft loans to aid our economic endeavours”.
On his part, the Executive Director of CODAF, Mr. Benin Richard said “To us as an organization, this day is a day to enhance the capacity of rural women to participate actively in environmental decision making.
“The theme of the IWD is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights” and it has the campaign slogan with a hash tag “#EachforEqual”.
“Our women should strive towards the successful implementation and development of our dear state and nation and must participate actively in decision making”.
The project consultant Mr. Ubrei-Joe Mariere said, “The reasons for choosing this theme is for CODAF to understand the local struggles of women against resources grabbing and environmental degradation, document testimonies of successes of women in changing the narratives of exclusion from environmental decision making.
“And educate and equip women and youths with adequate skills to resist all forms marginalization in their community peacefully”.
Mr. Fred Nohwo, the Executive Director of African Center for Environmental and Rural Development who was a facilitator in the event called on the women to freely express themselves, noting that solution can only come to them only when they speak up for action.