Nigeria: Illegal Bulldozing for ruling elite rubber plantation is starving 20,000 people

Twenty-thousand villagers in southwestern Nigeria face starvation and
disease epidemics because their forest and lands have been taken from
them in an illegal deal and bulldozed for rubber plantations.

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The French transnational corporation Michelin, the world’s second
largest producer of tires, was granted rights to more than 3,500
hectares of land in Nigeria’s Iguobazuwa Forest Reserve, including
individual and communal farmlands. There was no consultation with
local communities. Iguobazuwa Forest Reserve, located in Edo State in
southwestern Nigeria, used to be described as one of the forest and
biodiversity-rich regions of Nigeria. More than 20,000 farming people
live around Iguobazuwa. They depend on the forest for their daily
livelihoods and used to have land to farm around the forests. When
Michelin arrived, it bulldozed the 3,500 hectares of forests and the
people’s farmlands.

From one day to the next both sources of their
livelihood – their forest and farmlands – were completely destroyed.
Iguobazuwa communities lost everything. Communities face serious
threats from food shortages and health risks due to an outbreak of
epidemics as a result of the extinction of local medicinal plants,
resulting from Michelin’s destruction of their forests. Various
members of the communities have made many attempts to make their
voices heard, to no avail. Women, tired of being passive, have decided
to raise their voices and make their demands heard by the authorities
and Michelin and are determined to get their lands back. The women say
they won’t stop protesting until their land is given back, every tree
felled is replanted and full compensation for the crops destroyed is
given. They know it is not an easy path and that they need
international support.

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With over 130 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in
Africa, with over 250 ethnic groups. Nigerian women’s rights vary by
their ethnicity, religion and location. Women in the predominantly
Christian South earned the right to vote and stand for election in
1958, but those in the Muslim North had to wait 20 more years. Rights
vary by socioeconomic status as well. Poor communities control few
resources, while the wealthy in big cities often make decisions that
govern the whole country.

Many Nigerian women have decided the most
practical strategy for change is to work together with other women.
Today, they exercise their power in women’s market associations. They
influence local public policy, and more recently, pool their money to
support leaders who are accountable to their needs.

Comments (5)

MR EGHOMWANREApril 11th, 2009 at 7:27 am


Mr Kunle OladeleApril 21st, 2009 at 6:20 am

This is a collosal loss that the whole nation will dearly pay for in the near future.
What will be our story to future generations on our flora, fauna and water resources depleted due to greed of some educated illiterates on the ecological destruction.
Michelin should be made to pay reparations on the biological capital (Biodiversity) destroyed.

omodamwen johnnsonMay 18th, 2009 at 1:27 am

forest represent future wealth which belongs to the class of the inestimables the same vein plantations represent a tower of oppurtunities for communities its establishment is good and proportional to motives and management this michellin plantation has done may not be all that matters and more land does not imply more money all it takes is wisdom as wisdom is the principal michellin should get that one thing as a successful business is one ran under the full authority and supervision of ones own conscience.your acts are the direct representative of your conscience.

Jiji George; hexahoney@ausi.comDecember 4th, 2009 at 6:11 am

Rubber offcourse is an opportunity for communities living nearby. Plantation and harvesting is highly labor oriented and creates greate employment opportunity. There are no high end techologies involved in plantation. Any body who has a land above half an acre of land in tropical area can do his own plantation. The market had been attractive through out the last centrury except for less than five years. This will provide good income and income from one acre plantation is sufficient to support a sound living of a village family. Rubber plantation is the back bone of the economy of densily populated state Kerala in India where human living standard index is highest in the country. Learn from the company and do some thing to benefit the community.

Family Income Benefit UKFebruary 11th, 2010 at 7:05 am

wonderfull blog and photos

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