Organization: WoMin - African Women United Against Destructive Resource Extraction
City/Country: Port Harcourt, Nigeria
On 29th September women from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria marched for Energy, Food and Climate Justice in Port Harcourt, the epicenter of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. The mobilization was planned to coincide with the 2015 Global Women’s Climate Justice Day of Action.
The group of over 120 women, led by members of the WoMin gender and extractives alliance marched from the city center to Government House where the group handed over their list of demands. The group called for big corporations, whose extractive activities have contributed to climate change, to respect the environment and for government to act against corporations whose actions and omissions destroy eco-systems and livelihoods of impacted communities. Spokespeople from each of the countries represented in the action delivered statements of solidarity. As they marched women sang songs of protest against the environmental degradation and social devastation which have accompanied years, sometimes decades, of destructive extractivism in Africa. Women called for unity and solidarity of women and demanded ‘climate justice now’!
Emem Okon, Executive Director of Kebetkache Women Resource and Development Center in Nigeria said that the march was particularly important in light of the UN Assembly meeting to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals. The WoMin Director, Samantha Hargreaves, added that the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels has destroyed the land and livelihoods of women across the region, and its cumulative effect – climate change – will contribute to the premature death of 180 million Africans by 2100 if current trends continue. This demands a rapid transition towards a model of renewable energy which is women-led, socialized, and decentralized.