Edo State governor Godwin Obaseki (far right) with Okomu Oil's Managing Director Graham Hefer (far left) at the Okomu Oil Palm Plc Pre-Annual General Meeting Dinner, 2018 (Image)
Edo community laments alleged neglect by multinational company, others
by Idahosa Moses
The people of Okomu community in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State have decried the alleged neglect and marginalisation of the area by Okomu Palm Oil, a multinational company and the management of National Park.
The people lamented that despite being an ancient community that plays host to a national park and the palm oil firm, the community and its environs have been neglected.
Speaking to journalists, a leader in Okomu community, Mr Friday Atele, said what the indegenes expected from Okomu Oil Palm Company when it came on board in 1976 is quite different from what is being experienced now.
“When it came on board, we expected development and impact in our communities. Now, all our communities have been driven to the river."
“When the National Park came up with its extension bid, the people of Okomu community told its management that the land belongs to them and that the company doesn’t need to expand it, but it refused."
‘’Okomu community has over 35 communities under it with an estimated population of over 15,000, yet no government presence, neither do they have telecommunication lines to use in the areas,’’ he said.
On his part, a leader in the area, Chief Freeman Cousin, while explaining the alleged neglect, identified the state government’s inability to recognise the people of Okomu community as a unique and indigenous people, as a major challenge confronting the community.