Michelin: turning forests and farms into tyres
According to the World Rainforst Movement, Michelin has bulldozed 3,500 hectares of forests and farmlands in Nigeria, without local consent.
The World Rainforest Movement (WRM) reports that in May 2007 the transnational company Michelin, the world's second largest producer of tyres, was granted rights to more than 3,500 hectares of land in Nigeria's Iguobazuwa Forest Reserve, including individual and communal farmlands. As a result of the illegal deal, made without the consent of community people, Michelin has bulldozed the forest to use the land for rubber plantations.
Iguobazuwa Forest Reserve, located in Edo State in southwestern Nigeria, used to be described as one of the forest and biodiversity-rich regions of Nigeria. More than 20,000 farming people live around Iguobazuwa. They depend on the forest for their daily livelihoods and use to have land to farm around the forests.
When Michelin arrived, it bulldozed 3,500 hectares of forests and the people‘s farmlands. From one day to the next both sources of their livelihood – their forest and farmlands – were completely destroyed. Iguobazuwa communities lost everything. Different members of the communities have made many attempts to make their voices heard, to no avail. Women, tired of being passive, have decided to raise their voices and make their demands heard by the authorities and Michelin and are determined to get their lands back.
Communities face serious threats from food shortages and health risks due to an outbreak of epidemics as a result of the extinction of local medicinal plants, resulting from Michelin‘s destruction of their forests. The women say they won‘t stop protesting until their land is given back, every tree felled is replanted and full compensation for the crops destroyed is given. They know it is not an easy path and that they need international support.
Please sign up to send a letter prepared by WRM to the Nigerian government and to Michelin‘s offices.