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Women group demand proper cleanup of Niger Delta region

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In a collective call to action, the Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, along with allied community-based women’s organizations, has urged Shell to conduct a comprehensive cleanup of the Niger Delta region.

The appeal follows Shell’s announcement of its intention to sell on-shore assets to investors.

Emem Okon of Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, along with five other partners, emphasized the urgency of addressing environmental concerns resulting from Shell’s operations.

The group expressed apprehension about Shell’s apparent attempt to evade responsibility through divestment plans and emphasized the lack of consultations with affected communities.

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In a press statement on Sunday, the group highlighted the ongoing divestment plans, stating, “It has come to our attention that plans are ongoing by Shell Plc to sell their shares in Shell Petroleum Development Company to a consortium of investors, Renaissance Africa Energy.”

The group raised concerns about previous divestments without proper guidelines and urged responsible action.

“We, the women, are in the dark regarding the reputations of the new companies acquiring the assets of Shell, AGIP, and Exxon Mobil,” expressed the group, underscoring the critical role women play in the Niger Delta and the environmental challenges they face due to oil exploitation.

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The statement pointed out the failure of the corporations involved to establish women development funds to support those affected by oil extraction activities.

The environmental degradation caused by oil extraction disproportionately impacts women, affecting their economic activities, crop yields, and overall well-being.

The women implored the government not to approve divestment plans until polluted farmlands are cleaned up and restored by the responsible companies.

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They highlighted ongoing challenges, such as gas flares in various areas, impacting farming, fishing, and hunting activities, leading to health problems among women exposed to hydrocarbons.

In a firm stance against what they deemed “irresponsible divestment,” the group called on President Bola Tinubu to ensure that no divestment occurs without ecosystem restoration.

They demanded that the Federal Government obtain a court injunction to halt the sale of any assets related to the matter, emphasizing their rejection of irresponsible divestment.

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