Environment & Social Condition
The rural areas of Nigeria are inhabited by the bulk of the nation’s population and serve as the country’s principal market for domestic manufactures. They usually engage in the primary activities that form the foundation for economic development.
The absence of infrastructures in the rural areas makes the places unattractive to live in. They don’t have access to basic amenities like portable water, electricity, drainage, roads, sanitation, education, health care, recreation and waste disposal facilities.
It has been discovered the process of rural development is more sustainable when the communities as a family are involved so development agencies have advocated the self-help approach method of development. The specific objectives of the approach are to increase the well-being of the community and provide infrastructural facilities. The logic here is that an individual effort or community effort determines their fate.
The results of a recent research conducted in 2011 of self-help projects in 10 (Akanu, Amaekpu, Amangwu, Amuke, Amuma, Asaga, Ebem, Elu, Ndi Ibe, and Okon) out of the 26 villages in Ohafia are as follows:-
1) A total of 164 projects were undertaken:-
a) 153 projects were solely executed by the communities or members of the communities
b) 11 projects were jointly initiated and executed by the communities and the Abia state Agency for Community and Rural Development Project (Abia-CSDP)
2) Majority of the villagers were living near zero income in the area.
3) Although the establishment of the community self-help projects has contributed to the employment of the people, high rate of unemployment still persists in the area.
4) Self-help approach is a relevant strategy for development in the area.
5) The self-help movement rests mainly on the age grade system.
6) Rural backwardness still persists in the area.
The principal actors in community infrastructure provision in the communities are divided into 7 main categories:-
1) Community Development Unions (CDUs)
2) Age Grades
3) Women organizations
4) Youth organizations
5) Socio-cultural organizations
6) Faith-based organizations
7) Individual members
The landscape is dominated by the growth of Oil Palms. Oil Palm is a valuable economic crop and as such Palm Oil and its by-products are sources of income for farmers and small landholders in the catchment areas and allow them to participate in the cash economy.
This will result in the development of the local community as there will be improvements in local infrastructure and increased assesses to services such as schools, health facilities etc.
The major social issue is usually that land being developed by Oil Palm Plantations is done without the consultation or compensation of the indigenous people occupying the land. In some places, the land used was acquired using force. This has led to conflict between plantations and local residents in such areas.
The Land being used for the plantations and the proposed Oil Mill by EFB Industries Limited are personally owned by the promoters of the Company.