Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc has secured certification on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on their Extension two (2) plantation in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo state.
The EIA which was conducted by the Federal Ministry of Environment, in conjunction with the Edo State Ministry of Environment last year is in furtherance of Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc to bring to fruition the Edo State and Federal Government’s pursuit to boost agriculture in Nigeria.
Disclosing this in an interview in Benin at the weekend, Mr. Fidelis Olise, the Company’s Communication Officer said, the EIA approval contained certain requirements that the Company was mandated to perform in order to retain their EIA certificate.
According to Olise, this include compliance with the principles and criteria of the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the Project, sustenance of an Integrated Management System and Impact Mitigation Monitoring (IMM) system,
They would also ensure consultation/interaction with the host communities through their free, Prior and Informed Consent Agreements (FPIC) with the company, amongst others.
Olise assured that Okomu management would comply with these conditions, stating that Okomu, was a respected multinational, public listed company with an impeccable track record in following the law.
He said the palm oil company was already complying by implementing all the prescribed requirements of its EIA certificate.
The company is already anticipating their first impact mitigation monitoring audit by the Federal Ministry of Environment in this regard by March this year.
Olise further disclosed that the company had already signed FPIC agreements, one of the obligatory requirement of the agreement on Round Table on Sustainable Palm (RSPO) certification scheme, with the respective communities to its Extension 2 plantation in 2016.
The signing, he said, was witnessed by Mr. Jude Ekpo a Director in the Edo State Ministry of Agriculture who duly represented the then Commissioner for Agriculture Mr. Joe Okojie.
“As part of our ongoing terms of consultation with the communities, there is also regular visits from the company’s community liaison officers, biannual training and interactive sessions which are held annually with the communities.
And this year will not be different, with the first session and training to be held on the 11th March which would be witnessed by the press and the general public during the proceedings.
Assessing governor Obaseki Agriculture programme , Olise said the Government’s vision of creating 200,000 jobs, especially in the Agricultural sector, is achievable and Okomu oil Company Plc was already working in tandem with the Government by employing more than 2,000 workers, currently, on their Extension 2 plantation, mostly from surrounding communities.
He commended Governor Obaseki for the courage and will power in removing most illegal toll points from the road, a problem which he said has persisted for a while and over which numerous stakeholders protested.
He however pleaded with the Governor to remove the remaining offenders as a matter of urgency, just as he commended the Governor’s effort to make Edo State an investor’s haven especially in the Agricultural sector, assuring that the company would support him and the Edo State Government in their mission in this regard.