By: Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Kogi State chapter, has urged Dangote Cement Company to provide potable water, electricity, access roads and other basic amenities to its host communities.
The State Chairman of NYCN, Mr Oladele Nihi, made the appeal during a courtesy visit of the state’s youth executive to Dangote Obajana Cement Plant in Obajana, Lokoja Local Government Area of the State
In a paper presented on behalf by the youth, Nihi urged the management of the company to as a matter of urgency connect the host communities to the company’s water source as soon as possible.
He also demanded that the Obajana and Oyo-Iwa communities be reconnected to the company’s electricity power supply to enable the people have access to constant light.
Nihi added that the people of Awowu and Onupi communities in Ankpa Local Government and Obajana community in Lokoja where the company was involved in mining, extraction and production of cement, were suffering from negative the effects of mining activities.
“The negative impact of uncontrolled environmental pollution that is ongoing in these communities and the neglect of the corporate-social responsibility of the company to the host community are quite worrisome.
“The reckless attitude of Dangote truck drivers on our roads which has led to series of death on the highway are of enormous concern to us as youth council.
“It is estimated that Dangote trucks kills averagely 200 people yearly around Kogi state alone and destroys properties worth hundreds of millions of naira.
“We are inundated with series of concerns about the activities of Dangote Plc in these communities, we have also carried out an independent fact finding and realised that they are actually genuine concerns by our people.
“As a council which represents the interest of the over 1.8 million Kogi youths who are mostly affected, we have taken it upon ourselves to join the league of those calling for the right thing to be done,” Nihi said.
Other demands are: a comprehensive environmental audit be carried out to ascertain the company’s compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.
Builds hospitals for hosts communities, rehabilitation of intra community roads in Obajana and Oyo-Iwa communities in Lokoja and construction of Oyo-Iwa-Jakura-Agbaja-Emu-
He, therefore, urged the Federal and State Governments to collaborate with Dangote to do the needful to mitigate the suffering the people of the hosts communities in the two local governments of the state.
Responding, the General Manager, Human Resources and Administration, Mr Gungunne Ofurum, thanked the council for toeing the line of dialogue and for presenting their demands in a civilized manner.
He said that the cement company has been enjoying cordial and symbiotic relationship with all its host communities, saying they have been trying their best in meeting up with their corporate-social responsibilities.
He added that the peace and security they enjoy in their host communities today was a clear testimony that all is well. Your coming today will go a long way in adding momentum to our drive.
“We promise to study the paper you have presented to us carefully to see places where we can improve. I can assure you that all the points raised will be forwarded to the headquarters where they will be adequately addressed”, Ofurum said.
Dangote truck loaded with cement had on Sept 27, allegedly ran into a tricycle in Lokoja, killing four people including HND II student of Kogi Polytechnic, Mercy Odiete, and destroyed many properties.