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Edo State Government, Save Okomu Community From Terrorists’ Attacks – Community Elders Cry Out

By Sam Iyoha

THE people of Okomu Community and neighbouring villages in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State are living in fear and terror. Last week, three staff members of Okomu Oil Palm Company PLC were brutally killed by suspected terrorists.


Just this past Wednesday, the terrorists struck again, killing a man in his sleep, burning down houses, trucks, buses, and cars, and leaving a community leader in critical condition at Marioghonba (AT&P) community. The terrorists also left a chilling note with a list of demands, threatening more mayhem if their requests demands are not met.

The terrorist group who identified themselves as members of the Okomu Kingdom Ijaw Freedom Fighters (IFF) in the note addressed to the Edo State Government demanded, amongst others, the creation of an Ijaw Local Government Area in Edo State, recognition of their right not to be seen as slaves to the Bini people, the call for the Binis to leave Ijaw land and a call for the board of Okomu Oil Palm Company PLC to accord them their rightful place in the company by giving them 25% of the shares in the company and a full time member on their board.

According to the letter the terrorist group said they are ready to unleash more mayhem on the Local Government Area if their demands are not immediately attended to. It was learnt that some members of the community have fled their homes while others who said they have nowhere to go are calling on the State and Federal Government to immediately send security personnel to the area as they are afraid of the return of the terrorists, as promised in their letter.

Lamenting the relentless killing attacks on the communities and the Local Government Area Elder Sunny Obasuyi urged the state government to urgently deploy security personnel to the area, immediately, to save the lives and property of the inhabitants residing in the area.

Elder Obasuyi further advised the State Government to engage with the communities and other stakeholders to address the root causes of the conflict. Elder Osato Osagie, a community leader in Inikorogha cautioned the State Government to ensure that the terrorists’ demands are not met, as this will only embolden them to kill more of their own people.

“The only solution is for the governments both local, state and federal to provide adequate security and to provide support and compensation to the victims’ families and affected community members for their losses.

“The people of Okomu Community and neighbouring villages are counting on the Edo State Government Governor Godwin Obaseki to save them from this terror. We cannot afford to lose more lives and property to this senseless violence. Act now, and act decisively”, Elder Obasuyi stated further.

Okomu Oil Palm Company PLC, one of the companies named in the recent demand notice in the press by the Okomu Kingdom protagonists, has been a major victim of these ongoing terror attacks. According to communities, this company is like the “government” in this area as nobody else, not government or NGOs, assists them and it has been a blessing to the communities, providing jobs, access to markets through their property, CSR and economic growth.

But now, these companies and communities are all facing a grave security threat from persons with a political agenda. The Edo State Government must, therefore, act swiftly to protect its citizens and prevent further bloodshed and ensure investor confidence in the government’s ability to deal with these type of terror groups.

According to Fidelis Olise, the Communication Officer of Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc, there are six Ijaw communities that have benefited from the company’s CSR projects, these being Okomu, Safarogbo Gbelebu, Inikorogha, Ofunama and Gbole-Uba. The company has over the past 10 years handed out 157 bursaries to Ijaw Indigenes, in addition to executing 77 CSR projects in these communities.

These projects are exclusive of the annual road grading for those communities concerned. The combined value of the CSR projects in these communities amounts to more than N100 million over this period.All efforts to obtain the response of the President of the Ijaw National Congress, Mr Benjamin Okaba, and the Chairman Edo State Ijaw National Congress, Mr BJ Braie were unsuccessful.

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