By GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
BENIN — AN oil producing community in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State, Obagie N’unuamen, has dragged the Chief of Army Staff, the Commander of the 4 Mechanized Brigade of the Nigerian Army, and the management of Newcross Petroleum Limited before a Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State over an alleged use of personnel of the Nigerian Army to deprive citizens of the community of benefits accruing them from their God-given wealth.
The community is asking the court to restrain the defendants, their agents and privies from entering, working upon and carrying out oil prospecting (including seismic surveys of any kind whatsoever) or oil mining activities on any portion of plaintiffs’ communal land.
Meanwhile, President General of the community, Mr. Femi Aiwansedo, has denied the claim by Newcross company that all the host communities including N’unuaemn attended a meeting it called last week, describing same as a hoax and attempt to discredit the community.
He said there was already a suit in court by the community against the company over use of army officers to molest, intimidate, and deny the people of their rights and benefits as an oil producing area.
The community is also demanding N100 million as damages against Newcross Petroleum Limited for the loss of value to the land as a result of interference with the plaintiff’s interest in the 20 hectares of land belonging to the community and another 38 hectares of its land, which the company entered into without their permission and in the process, carried out oil exploration activities and subsequently laid the land to waste.