Over 30,000 persons across the globe have allegedly appended their signatures expressing displeasure over activities of a multinational company, Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc on its host communities in Edo State.
Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, disclosed this on Thursday at a one-day seminal with the theme: “Plantations are not Forests,” to mark the International Day of Struggle Against Monoculture Tree Plantations in Benin City.
Ojo alleged that the company has flagrantly disregarded Edo State Government’s Revocation Order for 13,750 hectares for the Company’s expansion of its oil palm plantation.
“I want to let you know that your protest has been highly well-registered at the Government House and in addition to that, several people, all over the world, in Edo State, in Nigeria and across the globe, have known about the atrocities of Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc.
“Based on the letter we submitted to the Government House, he [the Governor], has endorsed it by putting their own signatures and at the last count, we have over 30,000 people supporting Okomu-impacted communities all over the world,” he said.
He said the last protest against the Company has gained acceptance from the government and from the international communities.
The Executive Director of ERA noted that the Edo State Government Edict was signed into law on November 5, 2015, by the former Governor of the State, Adams Oshiomhole, adding that in spite of all entreaties and pressure, the Company has remained adamant and has refused to respect the Government’s order.
He said the activities of the company has further displaced about 60,000 small scale farmers across four local government areas in the State, namely Ovia South West, Ovia North East, Owan West and Uhunmwonde.
Ojo appealed to the state government to stop treating the company with kid gloves and take the bull by the horn and enforce the revocation order earlier placed on it.
He also said adequate compensation should be paid to those whose farms and food crops have been destroyed by the rampaging bulldozers of the Company, while relief measures and food should be provided to the affected host communities to cushion the effect of food challenges faced by the people of that areas.