Divestment: Ijaw Women Demand Inclusion in Sale of Crude Oil Assets in N’Delta

Divestment: Ijaw Women Demand Inclusion in Sale of Crude Oil Assets in N’Delta

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

An indigenous group, Coalition of Ijaw Women Voices (CIWV), has called on the federal government, International Oil Companies (IOCs), and other concerned groups to ensure the inclusion of women in the negotiations and decisions of the sale of oil and gas assets in the Niger Delta region.

The call was made yesterday in a briefing organised by the group led by a famous female activist, Ann-Kio Briggs, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital. The group also called on the federal government and IOCs to be transparent and accountable in their plans to sell off the assets in the region.

 Recalled that there is ongoing plan to sell Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) onshore assets in Niger Delta.

Speaking on the development, Anne-Kio Briggs said the attempt to sell off the “vital assets domiciled in the Niger Delta and particularly in Ijaw territory is unacceptable and will be resisted.”

The group regretted that “in the past 70 years, the Ijaw Nation, its  swamps, creeks, mangroves, soul, drinking water, men, women, children and the future have suffered unaccountable disasters, devastations and death, and the destruction of our livelihood, environment and our future.”

Briggs said: “The people in whose communities, creeks , swamps, mangroves and waters these assets are domiciled must have first right of refusal, our desire to participate and to be included in the options of purchase and ownership is critical to the assertion of our rights and we will not be ignored.”

They also said they would hold the federal government, IOCs, and Minister of Petroleum responsible “for the over 70 years of environmental destruction, devastations, and genocide through the reckless oil and gas exploration and exploitation of crude oil and gas flaring.”

It further warned that “It is necessary to remind the federal government and the oil and gas companies that Ijaw people will not continue to carry Nigeria on our back. Henceforth we will reappraise our continued stay within a country that takes everything from us

 “It will be a wasteful investment for any consortium or similar interests in and out of Nigeria to invest in any venture to procure any onshore assets in Ijaw territory without the full participation of the Ijaw people.”

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