Environmental Rights Actions/Friends of the Earth Nigeria has raised an alarm over non fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the Nigerian government.
In particular, it pointed at goals one and two – which focus on working toward zero poverty and the elimination of hunger by 2030 – as result of land grabbing, which it said has led to scarcity of land for local food production.
The Executive Director of the organization, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, raised the alarm while giving his opening remarks during the training on forestry laws and protection of communal land rights in Benin City, the Edo State.
He decried the expansion of oil palm plantations in connivance with governments officials to the detriment of the inhabitants of the communities where these plantations are located.
“While large scale oil palm plantations are growing, it is leading to a global phenomenon called land grabbing and dispossession because such land is either appropriated by collusion with government officials or undervalued and exchanged below prevailing market price.
“First, land grabbing leads to scarcity of land for local food production. Local production is hampered by land scarcity as some farmers have to pay exorbitant prices annually to hire of parcels of land for farming of staples.
“Such trend is telling on the rising local food prices of yam tubers, cassava and other farm produce,” Ojo said.
He further noted that land grabbing has also led to environmental degradation, violation of human rights, and conflicts in most communities in Nigeria.
This is even as he reiterated that all hands must be on deck to put an end to land grabbing through training of citizens in forestry laws.
“ERA, in conjunction with other civil society groups, feel the pain and misery of the impacted communities and desire that both governments and multinational companies respect communities free, prior and informed consent in any development to be located in their domain.
“There is the need to protect community land rights in the face of rising oil palm plantation through knowledge based claim making process.
“ERA in recognition of this, has embarked on community training on forestry laws in defense of the communal land rights so that communities are able to demand and negotiate enforceable outcomes and environmental and social impacts minimized,” he said.