Article from The Nigerian Observer - 25/10/2017 - By Chinedu Anaesiuba
Projects Execution– Host Communities Land Okomu
BENIN CITY– Host Communities to the Okomu Oil Palm Plc have praised the development initiatives undertaken by the company with respect to execution of projects that cater for the welfare and well-being of the people.
This was the position of over Eight host community groups who briefed the press recently on allegations of impunity and land grabbing against the company by ERA /FOEN.
Among the community groups who spoke included Chief Isaac Osasuyi, Secretary to Odighi Community, Mr. Ken Onigbe, Uhiere Community, Mr. Hilary Omoregie, PRO to Odiguetue Community and Barr. Alfred F. Osifo of Ekpan Community.
They noted that as part of the company’s Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) commitment, all communities in the operating environment of the company negotiated and duly signed what is known as a Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) agreement with Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc, adding that the event was witnessed by officials from the Nigerian Institute for oil palm Research (NIFOR) and Representative of the Edo State commissioner for Agriculture.
“Since the arrival of Okomu to our neighbourhood, and in compliance with the FPIC agreement, Okomu has provided us with many amenities.
“They include the provision of hospital equipment and a brand now 100 KVA generator to Odighi Clinic and commissioned by former Edo First Lady, Mrs. Iara Oshiomhole Completion of the Town Hall at Odiguetue, a clinic at Uhiere, a block of six classrooms at Oke, a Town hall at Agbanikaka, School furniture at Owan; a borehole at Ekpan, Irhue and Umokpe,” they stated.
They declared that the communities whole heartedly welcome Okomu Oil palm Plc to their domain, saying “we see them as partners in progress” while urging the state government to ensure that their tenure on the land in question and further development of the communities remain unhindered by anyone.
“Okomu alone, has in the last two years brought more than 2000 jobs, education, healthy business, prosperity and dignity to us and our communities,” they further contended.
Besides, they explained that Okomu Oil Palm Plc only recently and legitimately took over an area from two previous owners with the last owner actually planting more than 700 hectares of palm before transferring it through a Deed of Assignment to Okomu and duly stamped by the state government, adding that the fact is documented and available for verification at the Ministry of Lands and Survey.