Odey Oyama, director of the Nigerian Rainforest Resource Development Centre (RRDC) is facing threats to his life due to his advocacy on behalf of communities and against Wilmar International, one of the world’s largest palm oil corporations.
Wilmar has recently established a 50,000 hectare palm oil plantation in Cross-River State, Nigeria; Odey and RRDC say that the lands claimed by Wilmar belong to local farmers and lie within the boundaries of protected forests. The company has begun planting palm oil seedlings without conducting a proper Environmental Impact Assessment, and without consent from locals who claim rights to the land.
RRDC is on the eve of launching a lawsuit against both the company and the government due to Wilmar’s failure to comply with Nigerian laws. As a result of his advocacy, Odey has been placed on a government watch list – a recognized signal that his life could be under threat – and has been forced to flee his home.
Alert Nigerian government officials that the world is watching: Odey Oyama’s safety must be guaranteed, and the company must comply with national and international law.