By: Ade Adeleke
The management of Ondo-Linyi Industrial Hub, Ore has dismissed an allegation that toxic waste from Wewood Ltd purportedly killed three people at Omotosho forest in Okitipupa local government area in the State, calling on the Nigeria police to carry out thorough investigation to ascertain the nature of their death.
Addressing newsmen in Akure, the Chairman of the hub, Chief Alex Ajipe, said the allegation was distasteful and regretful.
Ajipe pointed out that It is also a shame that some people will just sit down and deliberately embark on peddling complete falsehood in a desperate attempt to discredit the company that is making positive impacts on the economy of the host community, ondo state and Nigeria at large.
Ajipe also alleged that it might be some political opponents that want to rubbish the giant strides of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu over the industrial hub.
The three persons that died at the forest included; Mr. Akinmusire Monday(35), Mr. Samuel Louis (45) and Master Ododolewa Adebowale(19).
The trio went to the forest reserve to fell trees and cut them to size for sale.
Samuel Louis, a father of four children, was a contractor who deals in wood, while Akinmusire Monday, a father of five children, was an operator of the saw machine used in felling and cutting tree to sizes. Ododolewa Adebowale, who’s writing the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examinations(WASSCE), was a helper.
On the fateful day, Louis hired the duo and went to fell trees in the forest reserve, but unfortunately they never returned home again to their Akinfosile community also in Okitipupa Local Government Area.
An account by Monday’s younger brother, Akinmusire Emmanuel, revealed that the victims went to the forest to fell trees as usual, but when they didn’t return at the normal time, they decided to go to look for them in the forest.
He disclosed that they saw the motorcycle on which the three of them rode to work where it was parked. They called out their names, but no one answered.
“When they entered the forest, they saw some people who were felling and cutting trees. When they asked if they saw the victims, they said no. After searching for them to no avail, they went back to the community to give report to the community leader, the Olufara of Akinfosile, Oba Olamide Ayodele.
The traditional head told newsmen, who visited him in his palace on Friday in respect of the incident, that when he was told three of his subjects were missing, he called the Divisional Police Officer, the Vigilante Corps and the Amotekun Corps and informed them about the development.
“The officers with some youths of the community went into the forest reserve the following day in search of the missing persons.
After much search, they stumbled on their dead bodies covered with black substance.
Emmanuel, who went into the forest with them, said they saw a big pit surrounded by heap of sand believed to have been excavated from the pit. But a part of the sound had been watched off by the toxic waste discovered to have been discharged into the pit.
He alleged that the toxic waste overflowed the pit and flowed down the slope where the trio were working and submerged them.
Emmanuel said the bodies of the victims were seen on the flowing track of the toxic waste which killed them instantly as there were no sign that they attempted to struggle with death.
The Police Public Relations Officer for the state Command, Assistant Superintendent of Police Teo-Leo Ìkorò, confirmed the death of the people, adding that investigation was still ongoing.
However reacting at a press briefing, Ajipe pointed out that It is also a shame that some people will just sit down and deliberately embark on peddling complete falsehood in a desperate attempt to discredit the company that is making positive impacts on the economy of the host community, ondo state and Nigeria at large.
Ajipe opined that, “RE: MYSTERIOUS DEATH IN OMOTOSHO, OUR SIDE OF THE STORY: Our attention has been drawn to a story making rounds on social media and in some national daily newspapers that toxic waste from Wewood Ltd killed three people in Omotosho area of Ondo State.
This allegation is both distasteful and regretful.
“It is also a shame that some people will just sit down and deliberately embark on peddling complete falsehood in a desperate attempt to discredit a company that is making impacts in changing Ondo state to an industrial hub.
“We will, however, like to make it clear to the whole world that the story is not true but is emanating from enemies of progress who want to use the incident to rubbish the image of our company and that of the Ondo State Government because of the forthcoming election.
“The Ondo Linyi industrial hub which Wewood is part of it is situated in over 150 hectares of land in Ore and in a well Serene environment. Waste from the hub is being properly evacuated. So we wonder how a toxic waste that did not kill workers in the company and residents of the hub will now be responsible for the killing of people in Akinfosile area which is very far to the company.
“Let it also be on the record that it is not only Ondo Linyi industrial hub that is operating along Ore-Ságamu express road as we have many companies operating in that route so why claiming it was Wewood that is responsible for their death even when the investigation has not commenced.
“The questions begging for answers are: Where were those three people coming from? What did they do before leaving home that faithful day? Has anybody carried out any autopsy on them where it was stated that the toxic waste killed them? Could they have died from any other source?
“These are the questions begging for answers and whilst we appreciate the Nigerian police for their prompt action, we urge them to do a thorough investigation on the incident and come out with the facts.
“As we all know that this is election time, we are sure that some politicians are behind this malicious and false story just to discredit the government of Arakunrin Akeredolu and his industrialization strides.
“We also urge the media to always do proper investigation and not rely solely on one-sided information before going to press.
“Ondo Linyi industrial hub was established to create more jobs for our youths in the state and it has employed over 1000 indigene and non-indigenes in the state and is committed to serve Ondo state better,” Ajipe said.