By Kevin Okunzuwa
Benin, Feb.26, 2021 The Management of Okomu Oil Palm in Edo, near Benin, says whistle blowers have received over N20 million, after saving the company from losses in 2020.
The company’s Managing Director, Dr Graham Hefer, made the disclosure at an interactive session held on Thursday.
Host communities, the media and other critical stakeholders were present at the session, held at the company’s headquarters, Okomu, near Udo, Ovia South West Local Government Area(LGA) of the state.
Hefer said the whistle blowing policy had been in place for over 11 years.
According to him, the policy is to prevent theft of the company’s produce such as oil palm fruits and rubber.
It is also aimed at tackling illicit operations within and outside the company.
He said that the policy had been very rewarding for the company and commended the Federal Government for adopting the same policy to checkmate corruption in government offices.
Hefer thanked members of the host communities for their support that had sustained the existing mutual understanding.
He said that the gesture was responsible for the achievements in host communities through the company’s social corporate responsibility platform.
According to him, part of the community’s responsibility is to protect the company to enable it continue to provide necessary assistance to the host communities.
Stakeholders at the meeting at the interactive session were unanimous on the need for transparent communication mechanism.
They said that real time exchange of information could easily nip in the bud possible conflicts in communities.
Representatives of host communities commended Okomu oil for providing them the necessary basic social amenities, and sued for sustenance of such meetings.
Earlier, a community relations expert, Mr Kingsley Erinwinghae, delivered a paper entitled “Trust/Dialogue Issues for Company Relationship”.
He said both management of the company and leadership of host communities must learn to develop internal trust.
“The community can derive benefit from its closeness to the company’s premises.
” Such benefits can include employment for themselves and their children, if they are qualified and skilled for the job they desire, contracts within their capability, supplies, and buying the goods of the company,” he said.
Naija247news reports that no fewer than 100 participants attended the meeting.
They were from about 23 host communities spread across three LGAs of Uhunmwode, Ovia South-West and Ovia North-East.