Hoodlums within the Maroghioba Community, popularly known as AT&P, neighbouring Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc yesterday morning allegedly attacked a school bus conveying schoolchildren to school at AT&P, injuring a women teacher and causing serious trauma to the children commuting to the school from the Okomu Oil Palm Company’s premises, at the company’s cost.
The incident is a fallout of their alleged claim that the Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc had blocked the road to their community, which was later refuted by the acting Odionwere who had also initially alleged this to be the case. This was also later confirmed when a team of journalists decided to visit the community to ascertain for themselves the reason why a company would unilaterally block the road to a community.
It was found that the road was indeed not blocked, as alleged, but rather, the company merely dug trenches around its plantation boundary to prevent the ongoing theft of oil palm bunches from AT&P by these self-same hoodlums. It was also discovered that more than nine people from the community had already been apprehended previously for stealing and convicted by the court at Iguobazuwa.
Also, no reports of any woman having been shot by the company’s security, as alleged by the Odionwere, were reported at any police station, and indeed, no company security carries weapons, as the Odionwere, being an ex-security employee at the company, was aware.
The Odionwere who had also earlier claimed that the company had treated them like slaves and had not done any CSR projects in his community later retracted this allegation once the reporters saw the many projects that the company had, in fact, completed for his community and he had been asked about them by the journalists.
Following the inability of the hoodlums, through the protesters, to get the company to rescind the decision to stop digging trenches and obtain sympathy from any quarter through their nefarious claims, the hoodlums took their protest to an un-expected level by harassing school children being conveyed to school, and in the process, one Stephen fell off the vehicle and sustained injuries and was rushed to the company’s Clinic for treatment.
The company and peace loving citizens called on the Police to round up those hoodlums using AT&P as a base for their criminal activities and to restore peace to the community and the area as a matter of urgency before the situation escalated beyond control.