Tuesday, 7 January 2020

C/River: Women accuse multinational firms of engaging in deforestation

7 January 2020 

Women from Mbarakom community in Akamkpa local government area of Cross River State, have protested against what they termed 'land grabbing' by multinational companies, saying the unchecked acquisition of their land has denied them access to forests, medicinal herbs, vegetables and firewood.

According to the protesting women, led by Halima Oja, these are species and condiments they have, over the decades, depended on for their daily living.

The deforestation without compensation, according to the women, has adversely affected their livelihood.

Godwin Ojo, the executive director of Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth, who addressed journalists in Akampa, together with the women, said it has become necessary to draw the attention of the Cross River State government to the impact of land grabbing on the people and environment, particularly the womenfolk and how this is affecting food production and the local economy.

Philomina Essien, a resident of Mbarakom, who spoke with Cityfile, alleged that in the case of one of the companies, expanding its oil palm plantations, community lands were appropriated without compensation of any form.

Margaret Thompson, another woman from the community, alleged that since losing her husband in 2018, who was a staff of one of the multinationals, she had been put into untold hardship through non compensation by the company.

Also, Patience Edet, another woman who joined others in the protest, said she was sacked for asking for maternity leaf from one of the companies. According to her, the Cross River State House of Assembly is currently looking into the matter.

The women demanded compensation from the companies in view of the adverse effect being suffered from their activities.


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