BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Communities in Cross River state where multinational Agro-based companies operates have called on the state government to review the existing Land Use Act of 1978 as a result of many shortcomings therein..
These include the nonexistence of realistic Land use plan and poor land management in the state.
The call was contained in a communique issued by representatives from Akamkpa and Biase local government areas of Cross River State at the end of a one day workshop on the theme “Capacity building on gender mainstreaming to enhance gender inclusiveness in community land”,organized by Environmental Right Action (ERA)/Friends of Earth Nigeria (FoEN) in collaboration with Community Forest Watch (CFW), NGOCE and MOSOP.
It called on the state government to stop all forms of deforestation in our forest,review all existing MOU’s, and get community people actively involved in the process.
It condemned the impact of land grabbing saying “it is only one of the many problems of social and environmental degradation of biodiversity loss and livelihood resulting from deforestation”.
The communique therefore “demand for the provision for the protection of the Rights of Youth and Women to ownership of the land, particularly the right of widows to inheritance of lands of their late spouses and community inclusiveness in conservation and management of their lands”.
It also demanded for women’s right in oil palm production,enhance community women education and inclusiveness in decision making and establish an effective consultation with women by prospective investors”.
The communique also “appealed to ERA to assist women in Akamkpa/Biase take up Court cases against Wilmar and other multinationals on issues of women marginalization and land grabbing”.
The communique was duly signed by Barr. Mrs. Nkoyo Effiong from Mbarakom, Ntufam Alhaji Itansina (Mbarakom), William Ojobe (Biase), Moses Arikpo(Biase) and 16 others.