Quarry project: Family sues firm over trespass, damage to farmland
A family in Ondo State has filed a legal action to redress alleged trespass and damage to its farmland by an indigenous company while laying the works for a quarry without mandatory agreement and compensation.
In its suit filed at the High Court in the Owo division of Ondo State High Court of Justice, the family of late Pa Josiah Aderinola of Ipele in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State, is asking for N3,000, 000 (three million naira) as special and general damages against DIC Materials Limited of Plot 1138, Suite 8, Central Plaza, Central Business District, Abuja.
It also wants the court to declare that the company had trespassed on its land and impose an indefinite injunction restraining it from further activities on the property.
In its statement of claim, the family alleged that the company illegally entered its property and bulldozed more than two acres of its farmland at Ipele/Ifon road, and destroyed cash crops, including cocoa trees, palm trees, cassava, plantain stems, kola nut trees, maize and yams, among others.
The company later moved in and set up its operational base for blasting rock without any regard to the resultant effects on crops, water, houses and human settlement within the vicinity, the family said.
Earlier on August 25, 2014, the family’s lawyer, Dr. Bode Ayorinde, had written to DIC Materials Limited to stop further work on the site, pending a meeting with the representatives of his clients to work out necessary compensation based on agreement.
The company however has denied the charge of non-payment of compensation adding that it followed due process by signing a Community Development Agreement (CDA), a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Olupele of Ipele, Oba Abel Olaleye Alade (now late), in addition to acquiring a letter of consent for rock mining and documentary evidence of “compensation to land-owners and occupiers.
The company’s quarry manager, Mr. Balogun Ayodele, also said in a letter dated October 15, 2014 that an unspecified “monetary compensation” was paid to “any farmer for his/ her crops within the perimeter of the area where the explorer will explore/crush rock”.