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Earlier this year, Friends of the Earth groups in Nigeria and the United States published the report Exploitation and empty promises: Wilmar’s Nigerian land grab, which raises serious concerns about human rights, equity and development justice in regards to PZ-Wilmar’s purchase of lands in Nigeria’s Cross River State. Wilmar responded by dismissing many of our concerns as misleading or out-of-date — though the company did acknowledge that it needed to take some corrective actions.
In partnership with Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Nigerian communities now respond to the company with a formal statement regarding the company’s operations, accompanied by a short video:
The company’s response to Friends of the Earth’s report earlier this year argued that some people in the project area in Cross River State disagreed with our findings. It is a sad testimony to the kind of development being imposed on this region that the land grab in Cross River State is characterized by a dynamic that Africans in particular are very familiar with, from their history of colonial domination, as “divide-and-rule”.
What both the video and the statement make clear, is that broad community consent — Free, Prior, and Informed Consent, in the language of human rights policy — has been neither solicited nor given. We therefore continue to ask the question, is this just and equitable development, or just another palm oil land grab?