Erstwhile RisonPalm workers cry out over gratuity

Panoramic view of the Risonpalm estate*Says they are set to go to court

Mkpoikana Udoma

19 November 2014, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The disengaged workers of the defunct RisonPalm Limited, now known as Siat Company Limited have threatened to go to court if the Rivers State Government fails to pay all its entitlements within the next 21 days.

Secretary of the disengaged workers of the defunct RisonPalm workers, Mr. McDanielson Inyewa told SweetCrudeReports that the Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Emmanuel Chinda has been insensitive to the plight of the workers.

He said they have exhausted all avenues to compel the state government to pay them their entitlements.

According to him, “it is a very explicit issues, and since it is almost a legal issue now, if 21 days elapses and nothing happens it is on us to decide whether to let our lawyer take action as specified in the letter or not, but to the best of my knowledge we are going after it and will pressurize him to take the necessary and appropriate action in preparing a suit against the state government”

The Secretary of the disengaged workers of the defunct RisonPalm workers also said that the legal Counsel to the disengaged workers has petitioned the Rivers State government over the issue.

“We went to Falana & Falana Chambers in Lagos, which is headed by Femi Falana SAN, and he has written to the Attorney General of the state who is representing the state government, and copied the Commissioner for Agric, Mr. Emmanuel Chinda and Chairman of RisonPalm, Theo Osanakpo, as well as chairman of Siat Nigeria Limited, Mr. Vandebeeck Pierre,” he said.

It would be recall that the Rivers State government had in 2011 signed a 35years lease agreement with Siat Limited, a Belgium based Agro-allied company for the running and management of RisonPalm limited, the largest palm plantation in Africa, which led to the disengagement of about 2000 workers.

RisonPalm is a Rivers State owned company established in 1975 with the responsibility for the development, production, marketing and exporting of oil palm and other associated by-products, with various production location centers at Ubima, Elele and Ahoada, and has at least 15, 000 hectares of palm plantation with a palm oil mill, agro processing complex with the capacity to process of 60 metric tons of fresh palm fruit bunches per hour.

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