By Gladys Nweke
The Nigerian Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ), Rivers State chapter, has kick-started her 2019 press week with the theme “Clean the Niger Delta, Save Our Women”.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on Thursday, the chairperson of NAWOJ, Lilian Okonkwo Ogabu, said the aim is geared towards drawing the attention of the government and multinational companies on the urgent need to clean the Niger Delta as recommended by the United Nations Environment programs (UNEP) and as promised by the Federal government of Nigeria.
She said, “At NAWOJ we hope to create awareness on the dangers and effect of air pollution on humans especially the women and children which is the focus.”
Also speaking at the event, an advocate for the cleanup Niger Delta, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) executive director, Auwal Musa Ibrahim Rafsanjani, called on the Niger Delta residents especially the Ogoni people to demand accountability in the build-up and all aspects of the cleanup exercise.
He said since the discovery of oil 50 years ago, no clean-up has been done to clean up oil spills that occurred from inception.
He added that the effect of the non-clean up affects women’s reproductive organs as every vegetable planted in and around the site of the spill contains 60% of sulphuric acids.
He also explained that 45 per cent of water and food grown and eaten in the Niger Delta has been contaminated.
He said the clean-up exercise should be a source of concerns and moral burden to every well-meaning individual and also the reason to demand accountability from those saddled with the cleanup exercise.
The event which was chaired by the patron of the parent body of Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Prince Emma Anyanwa also has the governor’s Wife, Justice Suzette Wike, bag an award for her numerous contributions towards promoting and enhancing the well-being of women and Children through her Radio programs Rivethics.
The immediate past commissioner for environment, Prof Roseline Konya, delivered a keynote address on the urgent need to clean up the Niger Delta.
In his remark, the state chairman of NUJ, Stanley Job Stanley, called for robust and holistic cleaning of the Niger Delta.
He, however, flayed women journalists who shunned the event with several excuses. He urged the NAWOJ chairperson Lilian to do a review of the theme to accommodate the men who equally suffer the same fate as women due to the damage done and the extent of the environmental degradation.
To also mark up the activities for the second day of the NAWOJ week, the association went on for free medical outreach.