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Edo communities protest palm oil company Okomu over alleged marginalization and oppression – The Sun Nigeria

Since Tony Osauzo, Benign

Host Communities of Okomu Oil Palm Company PLC in Edo State staged a protest yesterday against the alleged blockade, digging a trench on the road leading to their communities by the company.

It was learned that the action began on Tuesday and continued yesterday with women and young people from the communities, in particular from the AT / P and Marioba communities, who came out as early as 6 a.m. to protest against what they described as “treating us like slaves in our father’s land”. ”

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Odionwere from the Marioba community, Gabriel Eigbe Okwolegbe accused the company of treating host communities like slaves without them benefiting much from the company.

He said that although the company’s palm trees are on the doorstep of communities, there was nothing to show for being host communities, accusing the company of digging a large trench in the road leading to their homes. .

“I don’t know why this company continues to treat us like slaves. You can see that the palm trees are on our doorstep, but we are not profiting from the company in any way. The only road we manage to reach our houses, the management dug a big trench to cover it so that we no longer have access to our houses,” he said.

Speaking along the same lines, Rex Akpokiniobo, from one of the communities, said: “We have suffered from the arm twisting devices of the general manager of the company for too long, but this one was too much. . How can you dig your trenches to block our way? How can we get to our homes or get out of our homes,” he asked.

Similarly, a young leader from one of the communities, Lucky Okeodion, while scolding the company’s action, said that “the action of the general manager is barbaric and we will continue the protest until it covers the great gutter with which it destroyed our road.”

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Commenting on the incident, a human rights activist and environmentalist, Ajele Sunday, blamed the Edo State government for the mistreatment suffered by the communities.

“Edo State shares responsibility because it signed a contract that cannot be implemented without violating the rights of people in the community. How can a state government attract investors without precautions, without controls? You allow investors to operate and act with impunity.

“Just recently, on May 2, 2020, the Ijaw-gbini community was set on fire by company security guards. The governor pretended to create a committee headed by Lucky Wasa, but he died a natural death. But the day gunmen attacked the company, the governor went there himself, so who gives these investors so much power?

Reacting to the protest, company spokesman Fidelis Olise denied the allegations.

“There is nothing like it. It’s just blackmail against our company. You can come and I will lead you to said place if you see a trench as claimed. Although as a company we have the right to dig any trench within our company, but I want to tell you categorically that does not exist,” he said.