Nigeria: Local communities accuse Wilmar of land grabbing & pollution associated with palm oil cultivation; co. rejects allegations

Author: Anietie Akpan, The Guardian, Published on: 28 August 2018

"Cross River communities protest, allege land grabbing in Wilmar’s N45b project", 27 August 2018

After series of failed appeals, communities impacted by the business activities of Wilmar PZ...have taken Wilmar to the State House of Assembly for alleged pollution and land grabbing...The affected communities...said “the continuous land grab by the firm is likely to generate tension and pitch the government against several thousands of farmers from Wilmar impacted communities...”, if there was no urgent intervention...The host communities said their visit was to present their plights and predicaments before the legislators...The communities made a 4 point demand saying. “Wilmar PZ be made to enter fresh consultation with the community people on how to implement the mandatory CSR law of the state, and that they should be made to halt further well as conduct a FPIC-(Free, Prior Informed Consent) before expansion commence...In his response, the House Committee Chairman...thanked the communities and their representatives for [their] peaceful approach and...promised that the house will look into the matter...In a reaction, the Sustainability Manager of Wilmar, Mr. Asen Ako said, “We would like to place on record that both Calaro Estate and Ibiae estates are long existing plantations set up by the State Government in 1954 and 1963 respectively. Biase Plantations Limited (BPL) through a state government privatization process purchased Ibiae Estate...there has been no additional land acquisition from chiefs or any individual to increase the size of Calaro Estate beyond what was handed by the state government. Thus, it is completely impossible that anyone at Akamkpa or surrounding communities of Calaro Estate to claim that we have used chiefs to grab individual and family land to add to what the state handed to us. The statement that BPL used chiefs to grab individual and family land is therefore not valid”. He said, Wilmar, has “a robust CSR package for communities around its operation and this package is geared towards education, capacity building, health, employment, and economic development. 

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Related companies: PZ Wilmar (joint venture PZ Cussons & Wilmar International)