How climate change denying women access to basic needs
Special Report By Grace Amirikpa Lafia
Equal access to basic services like healthcare and education, is the human rights of every one irrespective of their race, religion, ethnic identity, class and gender.
This helps to explain why certain nations, like Nigeria, have constitutional provisions enabling all levels of government to guarantee that all citizens have access health care services as well as primary, secondary, and tertiary education.
Consequently, Chapter Four of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution declares that every Nigerian has the right to healthcare, which includes the rights to food, clean water, sanitation, and nutrition.
In addition, section 18 of the FGN constitution states that the government must focus its policies on guaranteeing that all citizens have access to appropriate and equitable educational opportunities at all levels.
Suffice to say that these rights are to be enforced even during humanitarian situations like flood and herdsmen/farmers crisis induced by climate change.
However, despite these constitutional provisions, a lot of citizens especially women and children displaced by climate change events suffered violations of their rights to healthcare, education among others.
This is even more as women and children temporarily living in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)camp at Giza in Keana Local Government Area (LGA) of Nasarawa State have been denied their rights to healthcare, food, clean water and education since they were displaced from their abode as a result of the herdsmen/farmers crisis over two years.
Narrating her ordeal, Mrs Ruth Jacob who came to the camp a year ago due to herdsmen/farmers crisis along the Nasarawa and Benue State border, decried lack of health facility in camp.
Jacob who recently delivered a set of twins.
Msendoo and Tyoule in the IDP camp stated that she usually get medical attention from a nearby medicine store whenever the children fall ill.
“I even gave birth to set of twin six months ago in the camp with out any medical assistance as one of the twins has not be feeling well because there is no proper medical attention,” she said.
She, therefore called on the government to come to their aid by providing medical services to the camp and other basic amenities in order to improve that health.
Another women , Mrs Marydelane John said ” I have been living in this place for two years now with no access to clean water, food and decent accommodation.”
She also called on the government to provide food and other relief materials to ameliorate their plights.
For Mary Abu and Mary James, their children have missed school for over two years and even though they are camped in a school, most of them can’t afford to pay the school fees and other materials.
All the women interviewed appealed to government to come to their aids and ensure their safe return to their ancestral homes.
It was gathered that most of the women in the IDP who lost their farm land during the crisis engaged in hired farming to feed themselves and their children while children are seen roaming around during school hours despite being camped in a Giza RCM primary school.
Efforts to speak with Overseer Giza Development Area, Hon mohammed Baba Abdullahi on what authorities in the area are doing to address the plight of women in the camp proved abortive.
It will be recalled that in 2017, past administration of Gov Samuel Ortom in Benue State enacted the Opening Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law to address incessant attacks and killing of farmers and cattle rustling exacerbated by impacts of climate change.
This law sparked hostilities between farmers and herders spreading to border communities in Nasarawa State and with lives lost and thousand of people displaced.
And as the world celebrate international day for Human Rights, there is the need for government at all levels to work towards providing equal access to healthcare, food , clean and safe environment for all the victims of climate change disasters.
However, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Nasarawa State and Public Affairs, Peter Ahemba, said the state government through the Nasarawa State Emergency Management Agency, NASEMA intervene each time there is any problem of food shortage or health crisis concerning the IDPs.
According to him, both the government of Nasarawa and that of Benue are actually working in synergy to ensure that with the help of the federal government, the IDPs are able to return to their various places of abode.