Bauchi community seeks compensation from oil firms over damaged trees

The Land owners in petroleum exploration area of Alkaleri Local Government of Bauchi State have called on oil companies engaged in exploration to pay compensation to members of the community in Baranbo area.

The community complained of damage to economic trees, resulting in the disruption of economic activities of the people.

Malam Abuabkar Mustapha , a farmer in Baranbo, said that the activities of the companies had resulted in the felling of trees which would affect the socioeconomic life of the farming community.

He said that most farm owners whose lands were used as either quarry sites or oil exploration were not compensated, adding that farming had been hindered on the sites.

He said, “I harvest about 100 bags from a piece of land but the oil companies came without any agreement and started their activities; meaning that we will not use this land for the 2017 rainy season farming and no compensation yet.”

He noted that the economic trees were vital as their leaves and seedlings were used to produce food items and other domestic purposes as well as a means of exchange in markets.

Also, Malam Garba Umar, a farmer and resident of Baranbo community, said the yields from a particular farmland produced over 1,000 bags of grains.

He expressed the fear that exploration on the sites had deprived him the means of livelihood.

He lamented that the promise earlier made by the companies to employ the youth in the community was reneged as only six were engaged.

While inspecting the oil exploitation site, Gov. Abubakar Abudullahi expressed the readiness of the government to pay compensation on farmlands once the natural resources were fully identified.

He cautioned members of the community against the indiscriminate sale of lands and urged the settlers to take action to protect their equipment against vandalism.

Also, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company, Maikanti Baru, represented by the Group General Manager, Frontier Exploration Services, Dr Mazadu Bako, said that work was going on in the area to explore petroleum resources.