AT/P community in oviasouth west local government area of Edostate on Monday came in thousands to protest over what they described as intimidation, harassment by Okomu oil palm company.
According to protesters; “l don’t know why this company keep treating us like slaves. You can see that the Palm tress are at our door steps, yet there is nothing we are benefiting from the company. The only road we manage to pass to get to our houses, the management has dug a big trench to cover it, so that we will no longer have access to our houses. This is the reason we are protested”, Chief Gabriel Aigbe said.
Okwolegbe (Odionwere of Marioba AT/P Community the traditional administrator).
According to Rex Akpokonobo an indigene…..
The men, women and youth group of AT/P Community gathered to protest against the Company because these is the worst form of marginalisation and oppression. We have been enduring the arm twisting devices of the MD of the company for too long but this one was too much. How can you dig your trenches to block our road. How do we get to our houses or come out from our houses. Though before we protested, the Army Commandant LT Mohammed came to appeal to us, that he was going to see the MD personally. We agreed but funny enough the MD send a message to our Odionwere that the road is the property of the company, so we cannot lay claim to his property. This is why we protested.
Another youth leader Lucky Okeodion has this to say, the action of the MD was very barbaric and we shall continue the protest untill the MD cover the big gutter with which he has destroyed our road.
Very unfortunate that while the Communities protested peacefully to express their pains and to make their voices heard, the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) of the Police came, they try to disperse us and in the process a woman was shot.
Explaining further on how the woman was shot. The Youth President of the Community Peter Umukoro narrated thus….
The protest has been peaceful untill we decided to match to the mirror gate (main entrance gate to the Plantation). As we were matching to the gate, vehicles of the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) came with other members of the state Special Squad of Vigilante group. Though some of the vigilantes were with us earlier to look at the trench, but this time around, the CTU stopped us that we shouldnt go to the gate. And we told them that our mission is to ensure that we protest at the gate, so that people coming in and out will know that there is a protest. So while some of us were still moving, some of the police started shooting. In the process they shot the woman.
According to the 64 year old woman shot Mrs Iyabo Butu while lamenting at the hospital bed, when they brought me to this hospital, the doctor said without a police report I will not be treated, it took close to 4 hours before the DPO came with some others to visit me, then I was treated but there are no facilities in these hospital. Please people should come to my rescue. I am begging, I am a widow, thank God I did not die.