Gunmen’s attacks on Okomu Oil Palm Company in Ovia South-West Local Government Area of Edo State, is a matter of serious concern to the company
Managing Director of the oil palm company, Dr. Graham Hefer, who is lamenting about the situation is challenging the company’s host communities to volunteer information on undesirable elements among them.
Going by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports, Hefer was speaking at an interactive session with representatives of the communities at Okomu, near Iguobazuwa in Ovia South-West.
He said the essence of the interaction was to build a better and more cordial relationship between the 29 host communities and the company.
He spoke following recent attacks by gunmen on the company’s plantation, which led to the death of its worker, the destruction of hectares of rubber plantations and equipment.
Hefer said the company spent more than N20 million on whistleblowing in 2021 and urged the communities to stand up for themselves against hoodlums terrorising them and the company.
He said the people could still take advantage of the policy to volunteer information on the identities of the gunmen and help the company to get back to business for the guaranteed provision of social amenities.
“Are you just going to look and allow hoodlums to overrun your communities? Are you going to just watch and let the goose (Okomu Company) that lays the golden egg be destroyed by hoodlums?
“Are you going to continue to keep quiet and allow thieves carry our `banga’ and logs through your communities and not say anything? Are you going to just watch and allow these hoodlums to continue to kill our staff and destroy our equipment while they still live among you,” Hefer asked.
Chief Augustine Yankee, who spoke on behalf of the communities, appreciated the company’s gesture, especially in the area of delivery on Corporate Social Responsibility to the communities.
Yankee, who condemned attacks on the company, expressed the host communities’ preparedness to constitute vigilance groups to repel gunmen.