Activists urge Edo government to uphold order on Okomu Oil
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), representatives of the Owan and Okomu communities and a host of civil society groups have urged the Edo State government to uphold a revocation order on the 13,750 hectares of land expropriated by Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc in the state’s forest reserves.
In a letter delivered to Governor Godwin Obaseki after a protest march tagged: “Peoples March Against Land-grabbing and Deforestation in Edo State,” following the company’s defiance of the revocation order, the groups said the state government owes the community the duty of enforcing the order.
The sale of the land in contention, which covers an estimated 13,750 hectares stretching from Okomu forests reserve to Owan forest reserve were reversed under former Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
Some of the communities are Okomu Village, Agbede, Ik camp, Makilolo, Lemo, Oweike, Avbiosi, Sobe, Uhiere, Owan, Ugbebezi, Oke-Ora, Ekpan, Oke, Atorunu, Ogbetu, Umokpe, Orhua, Ozalla, Sabongida-Ora, Odiguete, Agudezi, Uhunmora, Uzeba and Odighi.
ERA/FoEN Executive Director, Godwin Uyi Ojo said: “That the Company had acted in defiance to the order is typical of what multinationals do.”
He explained that the plight of the communities is further aggravated by the poverty that the company’s unrelenting bulldozing has inflicted on their sources of sustenance, adding that, “In the quest for industrial development, the communities have become casualties”.
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