Monday, 10 October 2016

STRUGGLE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AND JUSTICE



STRUGGLE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS AND JUSTICE IN NIGERIA

Struggling for environmental rights in Nigeria is one of the most difficult things to think of, based on limited information on environmental laws. This makes me wonder sometimes if we really care about our environments and in return about life? Take for instance, in some local sites where toxic gas leak has occurred, we careless about it and we never cared to clean it. However, it is not really cleared why those sites are left that way, but it is clearer that such abandoned sites remains deadly stigma of disaster to those living in those communities.  Looking round your neighborhood, you may see it too, and in most cases may ignore it too. But most alarming is that most people don’t even know about it. So I ask myself what can I do? So ask yourself, what can we do about it now that we have known about it?I'll leave that for you.
Image result for picture of environment pollution in nigeria

Could it be ignorance
You know, it is a pity how many people suffer medical complications from toxic contamination from corporations within and around us. How many people receive medical treatment needed for their health problems caused by pollution? Environmental pollution as at date continues and is done where the poorest of poor lives. I just don’t know why it is so?
All over the world, corporations builds their polluting factories and dumps, or carry out industrial projects among indigent communities in quick disguise that they will create jobs in those poor communities whereas not. To them poor communities are dumping grounds for toxic and pollution, knowing fully well that they are voiceless. But I know one day we will rise up in unison and challenge how the “powerful” abuses the “weakest” to suffer health damages. Don’t you think so?  That we can rise up in non- violent ways to the challenge?  In short, I mean civil actions coupled with biro of petitions, and you will be surprised that biro is mightier than their guns. That one day one voice would be amplified and heard locally and internationally. Arise and let's hold corporations that pollutes irresponsibly to accountable so they can do business responsibly and save our environment.

What are environmental rights in Nigeria
Human rights is our property and is for all. Rights to safe and healthy environment is one thing that can not be dashed to us. I have seen individual communities fighting to protect their environment and health, how they often face opposition and violence from Government and Corporation that want to take their natural resources in pursuit for developmental projects, regardless of the harm these acclaimed development  will cause.  In the first place, these projects may have to displace people from their land, create terrible pollution, endanger public safety or produce toxic that causes serious health problems. But of course they will never care about that.  Usually, government befriends to big corporation based on tax and levies they will collect  from these corporations. That makes it looks like the corporation that pollute most, are the ones who pays highest tax to Government.  And these taxes are meant, according to Government for funding the health sector and so on and so forth. If I may ask, what is the rational of corporations causing health problems to the poor only for Government to collect tax and later try intervening or salvaging situation they earlier caused  by building health centers and hospital? To my mind this is "Mickey Mouse" game. Take it or leave it.Image result for picture of women protect on environment pollution in nigeria

Taxes are never enough to fund and remedy health issues of poor people no matter how Government tries.  Therefore, preventing health problem is better than cure. Or what do you think?
Large corporation have so much money and power, including local and international connections to the extent that they are able to prevent Government from recognizing or enforcing laws that should protect us. But there are local, and international laws that I know of and are effective, especially in places where local laws are ineffective.  It is fundamental local people know about these laws and rights. The idea is behind this is to protect our communities, and our lives as human. Although these laws are still new, yet it makes sense for the struggle, struggle  for environmental rights.

Attempt to kill the rights has not fly 
There was an episode not too long ago in Niger Delta Nigeria. The region was fertile land with plenty of fish and healthy farm lands. When oil companies first came to the area, they promised economic benefits to all. But after 30 years of oil development, oil companies have not kept their words. Then the people revolt violently whereas they are several ways they would have explored for example- non violent approach I mentioned earlier and achieve results.  The Niger Delta is the oil milk center, but the people are poor in the midst of plenty. Development is denied and if you visit these communities, you will hear justice crying for help. Just recently, Nigeria Government has begun a clean up in the area and I am wondering if that could  be considered as environmental justice?  Only you can answer that.
Image result for picture of women protest march on environment pollution in nigeria

But baffling is how long the cry started, to the extent that women in the region began peaceful protest demanding oil companies to provide jobs, resources for education, water, electricity and development. And they demanded compensation for all the damages the oil companies had done. Oil companies called on Government to respond with iron fist. Security agencies were drafted in to repel the protesting women and reduce their voices, they fired tear gas and attacked the women, beating and torturing them, and injured many for marching against their tax payers. As at date, youths in the Niger Delta region have armed and resist government and Oil Corporation through militancy demanding that the companies go. But yet things can never be the same again. Hopefully, one day Nigeria Government will realize that when citizens complaint about environmental pollution it is their rights to do so. And that one day Nigeria Government will begin to take concrete actions to protect the environment for me and for you. We are environment and all is part. .