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 Wilmar responded by dismissing many of our concerns as misleading or out-of-date — though the company did acknowledge that it needed to take some corrective actions.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
Wilmar’s land acquisition is part of Nigeria’s implementation of its commitment under the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition — a set of policies and financing commitments that promote large-scale commodity agriculture in several African nations, in what some have called a coup for corporate capital.
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?