February 20, 2015

Tension in Okomu Oil Palm Company over killing of 5 staff

NGO, CBN inaugurate 10,000 hectares oil-palm plantation in Kogi

Oil palm fruits

By Simon Ebegbulem

BENIN—There is tension in Okomu Oil Palm Company, in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State, following the alleged killing of five persons last week by youths from in the area.

Consequently, the management of the company is threatening to pack up and move to Ghana.

It would be recalled that three workers in the plantation were shot dead last week, when the youths ambushed and opened fire on them.

The three workers died instantly, but Vanguard was informed that two other bodies were recovered in the plantation later, bringing to five the number of workers killed by the youths.

Staff of the company and contractors, therefore, appealed to Edo State government and the state Commissioner of Police to urgently come to their aid.

They expressed fears that many of them would be jobless, if the company decided to relocate to Ghana due to the constant threats from the youths.

The staff and contractors, who spoke through Dr. Peter Osagiede, said: “We have about eight persons also in the hospital due to gunshot injuries. We have eight communities in that area, but it is only one of them that is perpetrating this evil.

“They are asking the company to give them N10 million and making other frivolous demands, while the company graded their roads, installed boreholes, built schools and have fulfilled other social responsibilities.

“They are claiming that the land belongs to them, but we know that every land belongs to the Oba of Benin.

“We are worried now because the management of the company is threatening to relocate to Ghana and if that happens over 5,000 indigenes will be out of work and the tax being paid to the state government will no longer come.

“Even now, the plantation harvesters are threatening to boycott work because their lives are no longer safe.

“So we are appealing to the state government and security agencies to come to our aid. We have lost five persons and this incessant harassment must stop for the sake of our people.”