People from African nations who are most effected by the impacts of climate change are having their voices heard in the halls of COP26 as crunch time for a deal begins.

Emen Okon comes from Port Harcourt, Rivers State in Nigeria, which is an area where crude oil is extracted. The west African nation is the largest oil and gas producer in Africa.

"Rivers State is the hub of the oil and gas industry. Right now in Port Harcourt, what we experience is soot."

If you left a white shirt outside it would show black particles within a short amount of time, Ms Okon said.

"If you rub your hand on a window, you will see the soot, black, on your hand, like charcoal. That is what we have been inhaling.

"Everybody including babies in Port Harcourt is a smoker, by way of inhaling those particles."

She was speaking at a protest with the Make Big Polluters Pay campaign in a hall at COP26, among other people from Africa who feel the conference has been excluding the voices of those from the global south or MAPA (Most Affected People and Areas).

The campaign aims to urge government officials around the world to hold the industries and corporations that have caused the climate crisis to account.

Aderonke Ige is a climate campaigner with Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa.

She says she has come to see the impacts of climate change first hand, "that we have contributed the least to but which has affected us and keeps affecting us in very terrible ways".

"We should be talking about the ecological damage, the historical damage that has been done and then talking in terms of liability, we need to make them pay, and when I say make big polluters pay, it is not just talking about money, not just throwing money at problems."


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Philip Jakpor is from Nigeria and has attended COP climate summits before.

He says this is the worst COP he has been to in terms of including those from the global south in negotiations and important conversations.

"The real issue, which is about cutting the emissions at source, has been thrown out the window"

"Only a few of us could come and it took a lot for us to come here to amplify our voices, but unfortunately you have the corporations and we are outside. So this COP for me is the worst that has ever happened."

When speaking about information that has come to light at COP26 that there are over 500 fossil fuel lobbyists among the delegates, Mr Jakpor says: "The corporations and their allies that are responsible for the climate crisis you will see them crawling all over the halls where negotiations are taking place."

He says that civil society and in particular women and youth groups have been frozen out.

"The real issue, which is about cutting the emissions at source, has been thrown out the window."