Benin City, Edo State – Oba Ewuare II, the revered Oba of Benin, has pledged his support for the development of the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria, located in Iyanomo, Edo State. The commitment came during a courtesy visit by the institute’s management, led by its Executive Director/CEO, Dr. Leila Dango, to the palace on Monday in Benin.
The meeting began with the traditional ruler offering prayers for the success of Dr. Leila Dango’s tenure as the CEO of the institute. However, when the land encroachment suit between the institute and its host communities was brought to his attention, the Oba chose not to comment, stating that he refrains from interfering in court processes.
Nonetheless, the Oba emphasized his commitment to supporting institutions like the Rubber Research Institute, which contribute to the development and progress of the region. He acknowledged the significance of the institute’s presence on Edo’s soil and assured the management of his willingness to provide assistance whenever needed.
During the meeting, Dr. Leila Dango provided the historical background of the institute, highlighting its establishment over five decades ago. She also raised concerns about alleged land grabbing activities that resulted in the ceding of a portion of the institute’s land. Dr. Dango asserted that appropriate compensation had been duly paid to the host communities when the Federal Government acquired the land for the establishment of the institute between 1972 and 1973.
The executive director further revealed an incident in which some youths from one of the host communities reportedly drove away workers from the institute’s farm settlement, claiming inadequate compensation.
The Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria plays a vital role in research and development within the rubber industry, and its continued growth and progress are critical to the region’s economic advancement. With the Oba of Benin expressing his support and the hope for a successful tenure for Dr. Leila Dango, there is optimism that the institute’s operations will be able to proceed unhindered and that any land disputes will be resolved through the appropriate legal channels.