Last week Jubilee had the pleasure of meeting Leo Atakpu, Deputy Executive Director of the African Network for Environment & Economic Justice (ANEEJ) during Ecumenical Advocacy Days here in the DC area.
Leo gave us a moment of his time to speak on issues of climate change, ecological damage, and North-South Relations:
On the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice:
"The African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) is a not-for-profit, non-political, non-governmental organization based in Benin City, Edo state, Nigeria, aiming at promoting sustainable development through research, policy dialogues, workshops and advocacy. ANEEJ deals with development issues in their environmental and social economic aspects with emphasis on World Bank and IMF financing in African countries. The goal of ANEEJ is to amplify the voice of the weak and the marginalized, in order to bring about their participation in democratic decision-making process."
On the World Bank’s lending policies:
"The World Bank has consistently supported questionable projects most of which were remain today as failed projects, which did not address poverty reduction that they ordinarily seek to tackle. The three large dams in Nigeria built in the 50s and 60s-The Kainji, Shiroro and New Busa dams were funded by the bank and these dams have impacted negatively on the environment, displaced several thousands of people while the livelihoods of thousand others have been destroyed."
On the World Bank’s Pilot Program for Climate Resilience:
"The World Bank’s new program to give loans (and not grants) for adaptation for climate change in developing countries is a mere action to satisfy the desires of the drivers of neo-liberalism. It is immoral for developed countries that are largely responsible for carbon emissions not to take decisions that would provide grants to developing countries for adaptation purposes. We have consistently challenged the World Bank lending policies, procedures and communication strategies, which more often than not undermine the interest of the poor, weak and vulnerable groups in Nigeria."
On Nigeria’s ecological damage:
"The issues are clearly those of people’s socio-economic rights being constantly violated by the multi-national companies in active connivance of the state. People’s livelihoods, health and environment are jeopardized. There are innumerable cases of environmental pollution –land, air and water leading to loss of lives, destruction of aquatic lives, flora and fauna as well as land degradation.
Besides, there are governance issues, which has perpetrated the resource-curse phenomenon wherein oil resources do not benefit the host communities’ majority of whom wallow in abject poverty. . . The experience confronting these issues shows that governments down south are tied to the apron strings of multi-national oil companies and Northern governments who largely dictate our development models leading to crises of ownership of such development processes."
To learn more about these issues, visit Jubilee USA's page on Climate Change