The People of Owukpa community in Ogbadigbo Local Government of Benue State have been affected by activities of mining that commenced some years ago. Though the mining activities have stopped, the community inhabitants have been affected by the residues of coal that have been deposited around the community. Their only source of clean water, which is a river, has been polluted as a result of the mining activities that took place. This has caused an unbearable challenge of energy poverty and unemployment. The community has no electricity as they rely wholly on the burning of biomass at night and the use of kerosene lanterns indoors air pollution leading to respiratory illnesses such as asthma and cough.
To this end, Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP) in collaboration with Global GreenGrants Fund (GGF), with funding support from 350 Africa carried out an awareness creation activity on the 18th of July 2023 at Ukwo, Owukpa Ogbadigbo LGA, Benue State. The awareness creation hosted sixty (60) selected people of Uwukpa community, comprising fifty (50) women and ten (10) youths. The criteria used for selection was based on the poorest of the poorest inhabitants, twenty (20) women of the Owukpa Cooperative Association and persons that were involved in the protests to end the mining activities some years back.
During the awareness creation, the participants were further informed about the effects of climate change. They were informed of how man’s activities are contributing to climate change and advised to desist from such activities. They were further advised to reduce the number of trees cut down to burn biomass. The participants were encouraged to plant three (3) trees to one (1) tree they cut. Also, a sample of the solar kit to be distributed to the sixty (60) selected persons was showcased to the participants. The solar kit to be distributed later on is to help assist the Owukpa community members in providing lighting for their homes and help in charging their phones. The distribution of the solar kit is aimed at reducing the amount of trees cut down to burn biomass and promote the use of clean energy.
By Terrence Jeiyol