Nigeria is blessed with a lot of mineral resources but is also unfortunately cursed with the plight of exploitation. In a bid to protect and preserve the remains of their communities, voices from various local governments in Benue state gathered to let a unanimous voice be heard. They decided to do so by reaching out to their legislators, who in turn would voice out their cry. This was achieved by a state lobby Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation alongside Welfare Aid, under the auspices of 350.org.
The state lobby day began on the 9th of December 2021, in Owukpa Community in Obadigbo Local Government of Benue state Community to strengthen the capacity of women in coal mining host communities. The training, which had 35 representatives from the host coal mining community, was enlightened on the effective role of lobbying, the scope of lobbying, and how best to present their demands to government officials using a non-violent approach. The representatives from the various communities were taught how to tell their stories in the best way, to get the compassion of their legislator.
10 December was set aside to visit the Local Government Officials and put to practice all they had learned the previous day. After a long drive, the participants from the community went to Ogbadigbo Local Government Secretariat in Otukpa where they were warmly received by Prince Samuel Odoh Onuh, the Chairman of Ogbadigbo Local Government Council and they were able to voice their concerns.
Surprised by how organized and articulated the women were, the chairman in his remarks stated that he was quite aware of Owukpa’s plight as a result of the coal mining and he was ready to work with the women in organizing such lobby meetings at the state and national levels to hasten the interventions that they sought.
By Julie Ojo