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Nigeria marks UN International Year of the Soil

23 July 2015, 16:00Okoro Chinedu

Lagos - Nigeria is today commemorating the United Nations International Year of the Soil with the decades-long struggle against oil extraction in the Niger Delta featuring prominently.

The 1993 Right Livelihood Laureate, Vandana Shiva, will give a lecture at the Right Livelihood College in Port Harcourt, Rivers States.

The event, organized in collaboration with Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and 2010 Right Livelihood Laureate, Nnimmo Bassey, will be followed on Friday by a seed democracy workshop in collaboration with Ogoni women and a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday next week.

“With oil spills occurring with a disturbing frequency of almost one a day, the soil and waters of the Niger Delta are being severely degraded, thus raising challenges for the production of wholesome food,” said Nnimmo Bassey, Director of HOMEF.

Also Read: Okowa appeals to Shell to return to Delta

“Vandana Shiva's visit is timely and we expect that she will raise critical issues on the need to preserve our soils, seeds and food systems, rather than allowing them to be destroyed by the irresponsible activities of oil companies in their bid to extract resources of diminishing value.”

The UN has chosen 2015 as the International Year of the Soil with the aim of raising awareness about the importance of soil for human life, food security, climate change adaptation and sustainable development.

In the Niger Delta, oil extraction has severely contaminated the soil.

Shiva, a physicist, philosopher, feminist, activist and author, has dedicated her life to defending small farmers’ rights and the rights of people to forests, biodiversity, water, seeds and land.

Her organization, Navdanya, which means “nine seeds,” has been actively involved in rejuvenating indigenous culture and knowledge,and setting up seed banks across India, training farmers in sustainable agriculture and seed sovereignty.

- CAJ News


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