By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
Indigenes of Orogho Community in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State have protested the alleged land seizure in their Community.
They also distance themselves from a purported memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Edo state government and Presco oil Plc, which allegedly ceded 2,500 hectares of their ancestral land to the multinational company without their consent.
Yesterday, Orogho Community in an open letter to Presco Plc titled “Provocative encroachment of Orogho land by Presco Plc, by Orogho Concerned Indigenes, Elders in Council and Opinion leaders, said the the company does not deserve additional land.
It alleged that the 14,400 hectares of land earlier acquired by multinational have not been put to use, thereby denying peasant farmers and other land users their livelihoods.
The group in a letter which was made available to newsmen in Benin City said: “the ongoing speculation that Presco Plc has been allocated 2,500 hectares by the state government is a ruse, unfounded and far from the the truth.
“The land belongs to Orogho and not even the government, any person or group of persons talk less Delta State”, the letter said.
“That with regard and respect to the constituted authority, there was formal consultations with us, the state government and our Benin monarch before Approval and certificate of occupation was issued over the 14,400 hectares which you are yet to develop.
“Orogho land cannot be given out without our consent. For ages, it has been our ancestral land without dispute from successives governments even before the advent of the whitemen”
The group recalled that prior to the enactment of land use decree 1978, the people of the community have had indelible ancestral right to the farm land of which, a part of about 14,000 hectares acquired through our royal father, Oba Erediauwa.
The letter further said the protracted depletion of the indigenes from skill and unskill appointments suggested a grand scheme of alienation of the people who own the land.