Twenty three communities in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State, on Monday, protested against the planned leasing of their land – Urhonigbe Forest Reserve – to a private investor, SARO Oil Palm.
The protesting persons noted that the Urhonigbe forest reserve was donated by their forefathers while other communities/refused to make any land donation as forest reserve.
Addressing journalists at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council, Benin, spokesman of the protesting communities, Chief Gabriel Osadolor, said: “The Urhonigbe forest reserved as our only means of livelihood, where we farm to sustain our family and children. Our children, mostly who are graduates and have no job, engage in farming in the forest reserve.
“Many youths from Orhionmwon Local Government, who are not interested in criminal activities, engaged in farming in the forest reserve as there is no employment after graduating from school.”
Chief Osadolor, also noted that not all communities in the state have forest reserve, adding that their forefathers were magnanimous to have donated their land as forest reserve which is their only means of livelihood.
He also lamented that while the widows and widowers are farming in the Urhonigbe forest reserve for survival, Fulani herdsmen kill and pursue indigenes from one side of the land to the other.
He added that people from Delta State also encroached into the forest reserve, stressing that the only area left for the communities is the present forest reserve which government is planning to give to an oil palm investor.
He said already, a part of the Urghonigbe forest had been handed over to Presco Oil Palm Plc, while the little one left for them to farm is the little one government planning to give to another investor.
They, therefore, appealled to the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki to halt the planned leasing of Urhonigbe Forest Reserve to a private investor, SARO Oil Palm.
The communities asked the governor to relocate the said investor elsewhere as the forest reserve given to the investor, serves as their only source of livelihood through subsistence farming.
“We are begging Governor Godwin Obaseki to relocate SARO or any other oil palm investor to another local government that have virgin land. Orhionmwon do not have such land. The governor should not keep us in hunger and starvation.
“Mr. Governor should note that we voted him into power because of the trust we have in him, and we anticipate he will always stand in our interest instead of of planning to keep us in jeopardy”, he declared
Osadolor, also drew government’s attention to the deplorable state of roads in Orhionmwon, the lack of electricity at the council headquarters in Abudu, the moving of the NYSC Orientation camp from Abudu to Okada, and the recent attempt to move the School of Forestry Management, Sokponba village in Orhionmwon to Fugar, Etsako Central local government area of the state.
JUST IN: Popular Ex-agitator Commits Suicide
There were pandemonium and rude shock on Saturday evening in Ogbe-Ijaw, an Ijaw community that serves as headquarters of Warri South-West council as popular ex-agitator from the Ijaw extraction, Friday Igbegbe, commits suicide.
An anonymity pleading source who disclosed this to CONGRESS NEWS said reason why he took his life by succide was yet unknown.
The body of the ex-agitator has been deposited in the mortuary in Warri, Delta State.
Stakeholders in the Ijaw struggle have consequently expressed shock over the incident.
The late militant war Lord hailed from Ijaw in Ogbe-Ijoh community, Warri South west local government area of Delta state.
Replying to SMS sent by INFO DAILY to Police Public Relations Officer, Delta State Command, SP Bright Edafe, he said he was not aware of the development.
Gunmen Kidnap Two Little Girls From Mother’s Car In Ondo
Two little girls have been kidnapped in Ondo State by gunmen suspected to be kidnappers.
The two girls of nursery and kindergarten classes were snatched from their mother’s car in Akure, the State capital.
The incident occurred at Leo area of Akure metropolis when the victims’ mother was driving into their compound in their ash coloured Toyota Camry, popularly known as ‘muscle’.
The incident was said to have been reported to the police.
Confirming the development, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, in the State, DSP Funmi Odunlami, disclosed that the mother of the kids reported the case at the police station shortly after it happened.
While stating that the anti-kidnapping section was already handling the issue, the PPRO said she was not sure if the kidnappers had contacted the family.
Scores Burnt As Fire Guts Illegal Refinery In Rivers
About 25 persons are reported to have been burnt in the Rumuekpe community in the Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State following a fire outbreak from an illegal local refinery popularly known as Kpofire.
The incident took place on Thursday, according to eyewitnesses.
The fire broke out after a pipe exploded at the site of the illegal refinery.
The leader of a local vigilante group in the area, Frank Nwazimutor who confirmed the incident, however, said he counted only four dead bodies from his own village alone, saying that more persons than estimated may have been affected by the fire.
According to him “about 22 people were there but not all of them were burnt to death”.
He said the community has remained calm but that tension is high in the forest where the fire broke out.
The vigilante leader however blamed the increasing practice of illegal refineries on lack of employment opportunities.
The Rivers State Police Command is yet to react to the incident.
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