A cross section of host community stakeholders in Ibeno during a dialogue.

By Press Release

A cross section of leaders, community chiefs, young people, the women, recently gathered at Mkpanak, Ibeno local government area of Akwa Ibom State, for the host community dialogue on climate change mitigation and adaptation organised by the Clement Isong Foundation in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria, stressing the importance of continued awareness efforts, compliance with gas flaring regulations, and the establishment of green clubs in schools to educate the younger generation.

The speakers at the dialogue also suggested the conversion of gas flaring into turbines for energy supply and planting trees strategically to combat the adverse effects of climate change.

The dialogue was the foundation’s strategic partnership agreement project II activity aimed at empowering young people, the women, and those who are marginalized individuals to enjoy improved and sustainable livelihoods through climate-accountable government and a green private sector.

The event was designed to gather data on the Petroleum Industrial Act and environmental remediation while engaging the people to address the challenges faced by the host community.

Executive Director Elkanah Oluyori, Haruna Mohamed, and the ever-dedicated Programs Officer Caroline Gordian, who engaged with the stakeholders shed light on the incredible benefits of the Petroleum Industrial Act.

A focus group discussion was initiated with the elders and chiefs of Ibeno, youth leaders, and women groups to understand the knowledge, attitude, and practices related to the act.

The occasion provided an opportunity for the community members to share insights on the recent remapping of the state by the Akwa Ibom State Government and the adverse impact it has had on their local government area.

Discussants at the dialogue also delved into the pressing matters that the community faces on a daily basis ranging from the lack of clean drinking water to staggering unemployment rates, the challenges which seemed endless.

The attendees also expressed their concerns about the harmful practices of oil and gas companies, resulting in devastating consequences for their livelihoods, aquatic life, and even migration patterns.

They also decried the lack of health care infrastructures to attend to their medical needs and the high level of sea rise that has submerged parts of their community.

The community expressed grief over the damage caused to the water supply plan in the area due to the construction of the Eket road.

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While they recognised the efforts of the Enactus University of Uyo team to provide clean water in the Mkpanak area, the community appealed to the government for a state of emergency to be declared in Ibeno and for immediate action to provide clean water.

A community communication channel was created at the dialogue to serve as a platform for ongoing conversations and recommendations to ensure that the voices of the community are heard and their needs are met.

The team identified members of the community development committee and strategies to engage them to ensure they fully initiate community development agreements with the oil companies. This community is mandated to monitor oil companies to ensure compliance with environmental standards.

The Clement Isong Foundation said it is committed to empowering community stakeholders with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the complexities of the Petroleum Industrial Act.

The organization said it would continue to foster dialogue between private and public institutions, working tirelessly to ensure the development and prosperity of the host community.