Nigeria: NGO claims deforestation by Okumu Oil Palm has led to loss of livelihood for local communities; company denies allegation & threaten to sue NGO

Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN) has claimed that deforestation by Palm Oil company has compromised the livelihoods of local communities in Nigeria. In response, the company has denied the allegations & threatened to sue to NGO for 'false' allegations 

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Article
12 June 2018

Friends of the Earth Nigeria claims Oil Palm's activities have compromised local community's livelihoods

Author: Michael Egbejule, The Guardian (Nigeria)

"ERA/FoEN’s RSPO Certification Claims Spurious, Libelous—Okomu Oil"

Residents of Uhiele, Odighi and Odiguetue communities in Edo State have lamented the devastation of their environment and loss of livelihoods resulting from deforestation by multinational firms in the area. Village head of Uhiele Community, Ovenseri Owakhina, while lamenting the neglect of the communities by a multinational agribusiness firm, said the company has taken over their farmlands for plantation purposes, thereby leaving them without any means of livelihood. Owakhina said the community still lacked basic social amenities in spite of the multinational firm’s promises to bring development to the community...

Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN), Godwin Uyi Ojo, urged the Edo state government to revoke all certification in the interest of the communities and their livelihood. He said the three local government councils mostly affected by the activities of the multinational firm are in Ovia North East, Ovia South West and Uhunwonde local councils of the state. Ojo said government must stop all forms of Oil Palm plantation expansion that are detrimental to community farmlands, biodiversity hotspots and historical sites. He urged the multinational firms operating in Edo State to respect communities and seek their consent in development processes and land acquisitions that affect them.

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Article
12 June 2018

Okumu Oil Palm denies compromising local community's livelihoods; threatens for sue NGO for 'false' allegations

Author: Dipo Olowookere, Business Post (Nigeria)

"ERA/FoEN’s RSPO Certification Claims Spurious, Libelous—Okomu Oil"

The management of Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc has reacted to an allegation made against it by a group known as Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), alleging that the company had been “parading” a Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil(RSPO) certificate.

In a statement signed by its Managing Director, Mr GD Hefer, the Benin-City, Edo State-based agro firm categorically denied “this allegation and dismiss this assertion as false, defamatory and without foundation.” Okomu Oil tasked the NGO to “immediately furnish the requisite proof that the company had been doing so or face the consequences.”

“It is strange that ERA/FoEN, which had originally been invited to participate as a stakeholder in the RSPO National Interpretation exercise, along with other interested and affected stakeholders in the oil palm pipeline, chose to decline the invitation, publicly stating that they were against RSPO in all its forms and calling it ‘false land grabbing and inhumane activities against communities,’ but suddenly now seemingly wanting to take an active interest in the RSPO certification scheme,” the statement said.

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