Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Ajaji community of Illah, Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta has raised fresh alarm over alleged forceful acquisition of their farmland by an agro company, Northsworthy Investments.
The community had last month, blamed the state government for ceding their land to the company without prior negotiation with them as stakeholders.
But in a latest statement by the Diokpa of the community, Francis Chukwurah, alleged that despite previous peaceful protest, the company, with the protection of armed soldiers, has continued to destroy their farmlands and cash crops worth hundreds of million of naira with its bulldozers.
He said the community had been subdued and made captives in their own land, adding that if nothing was done to check the excesses, the community would seek legal redress.
The community leader therefore appealed to state government and other well meaning Nigerians to intervene in the matter and to stop the company from invading farmland and crippling the local economy.
“We are shocked that while Nigerians have been ordered to stay at home, in effort to check the Covid-19 pandemic, Northsworthy Investment bulldozers have been wreaking havoc on law-abiding community.
“On daily basis, farmland and cash crops worth hundreds of millions of naira are being destroyed by the company’s bulldozers.
“This glaring undeserved provocation is made worst by the declaration of the company officials that the soldiers have been ordered by the authority to shoot at sight any unauthorized person at the projects site.
“This is a bare-face oppression on a law abiding community and if nothing is done, we intend to seek legal redress.
“We, therefore, appeal to all people of good conscience and organisations as well as Delta State Government to speak out against this mindless invasion of our land,” Chukwurah said.
Although, no official of the company be reached immediately for reaction, the state government through the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu said what is going on at Ajaji was part of the industrialization plans of the present administration, adding that the community stand to gain a lot from the oil palm production project of Northsworthy Investment.
Aniagwu appealed to the community to explore avenues for negotiations, and avoid any act of confrontation.