By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—TWO workers of Okomu Oil Palm Plc, Okomu, Udo, in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State have been killed by unknown gunmen.
The gunmen were said to have invaded the palm plantation, where about seven workers, said to be weeding around the premises of the company were shot at and two died instantly.
Five others escaped with bullet wounds and are currently receiving treatment in a medical facility.
Vanguard gathered that a large portion of the plantation was set ablaze by unknown youths over alleged refusal of the company’s management to settle them.
A worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said several workers had been attacked in the past but the management usually kept mum about the incidences.
He said the killing of the two workers occurred at a place not far from where security operatives were based.
He said: “This matter does not concern us. We are just workers, but the boys always attack us and leave the management staff alone.
“The boys need something from the management, but this managing director is too stubborn. The security men on ground have not exchanged gunshots with the attackers since trouble started last year.
“We decided to cry out so that management can do something about this.”
Public Relations Officer for Okomu Oil Palm Plc, Ikponmwosa Osunbor, confirmed the killing and said the hoodlums had been warning the oil firm to leave the land.
Ikpomwosa said the gang had not made any demand for cash, but only threw leaflets into the firm asking them to leave.
He urged the state government to intervene in the situation, because relatives of the slain workers were spoiling for war.
He said: “They have burnt 300 hectares of matured rubber and oil palms. We have 120 army personnel in our plantation, but the boys are still attacking our workers in the bush.”
“Government should provide us with more security. Our fear is that it will turn tribal.”
The story was also confirmed by Edo State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Edoigiawerie, who said that police had step up investigations into the incident.