Quarry pro­ject: Fam­ily sues firm over tres­pass, dam­age to farm­land

Daily Trust - - LAW - By Ade­lanwa Bamg­boye

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”.

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