Basking in the euphoria of multi-million naira scholarships awarded its students in various higher institutions of learning and secondary schools, the host communities to Dangote Cement Ibese, in Ogun State led by their traditional rulers have commended the management of the company for the gesture.
They assured Dangote Cement of full cooperation in sustaining the current harmony existing between them and the organization.
The scholarship awards, which cover all fees payable in the schools were presented to the beneficiaries at the Ibese premises of the Cement Company amidst pomp with parents of beneficiaries showering encomiums on Dangote Cement.
Chairman of the occasion, the Olu of Imasayi, Oba Gbadebo Adesola Oni, said the communities would forever be grateful to Dangote Cement for the gesture saying the organization has proven to be a socially responsible one worth the cooperation and support of all indigenes of the host communities.
He urged the management to continue to assist the communities pointing out that it was God that deliberately position the communities to have in abundance raw materials which attracted Dangote cement to the area and that the relationship between the communities and Dangote cement would continue to blossom.
Oba Oni stated that the Company had also been helpful in other areas of need and urged the management not to relent in providing more infrastructure for the people.
The royal fathers equally charged the beneficiaries to reciprocate the good gesture by facing their books and coming out in flying colours reminding them that many of their colleagues are praying to have similar opportunity to get scholarship but couldn’t and therefore, they must justify the confidence reposed in them by the Company.
“I want to implore you all. This scholarship is meant to lift you and achieve. The company is not under any legal, compulsion to provide it but the management thought it wise to invest you by virtue of being an indigene of one of the communities within which it operates. You must therefore shun all social vices and be good ambassadors in your various schools.”
In his address of welcome, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group who was represented by the Ibese Cement Plant Director, Armando Martinez, described the scholarship award as just one of the many Corporate Social Responsibility projects of the Company for the host Communities.
He explained that the recipients of the scholarship award were drawn from the 14 host communities and are all in higher institutions across the country and some secondary schools within Ogun State.
He assured that employment opportunities await brilliant graduates who hail from communities in and around its Ibese Cement Plant, thereby, increasing the number of indigenous staff currently working in the plant.
Martinez stated that Dangote Group would increase its Corporate Social Responsibility portfolio by offering brilliant, indigenous graduates from its employment opportunities. “I want to assure you that the brilliant graduates from the host communities would have opportunities to work with us In Dangote Group, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to our communities is our watchword and focus.
“Distribution of scholarships, construction of roads and drainages, provision of transformers and other devices to connect communities to national grid, among others are what will do every year. We award scholarships to communities in order to give the communities part of wealth being created. To get the benefit of having production lines here and using natural resources of this area.
“I think everything is not about money but the main benefit is to provide them the opportunity to have better education, to have access to good universities and in the future, if they are good students, well-qualified, we will also offer them opportunities to work here at Ibese Cement Plant. This is part of CSR to ensure good relations, good partnership with our communities.
Also speaking, the Asiwaju of Ibeseland, Chief Hezy Idowu, thanked the management on behalf of all communities in Ibese, and appealed to the Company to see to the age-long problem of dearth of potable water in the community saying “what Dangote Cement is doing is a very good gesture, but I would like to see the number of scholarships increased because the number of children is increasing.”
Responding on behalf of the recipients, Ajayi Gabriel, a Senior School Student III of Asakanran Grammar School, said, “I am just even surprised because when one of Community brother told me about the Scholarship, I said you are a liar, how can Dangote give me Scholarship. So, when I got here today, I now see that it is true and I collected the Scholarship.
“I want to tell my colleagues that we should try our best and work hard, so that the Scholarship will not be withdrawn. For me, I am in SSS III and I promise to make my WAEC without any undue assistance.”
Another student, Fatimah Yaqub of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB) said it was a privilege for them to counted among the beneficiaries of the award and promised that they would not let down the community by studying hard to show that its investments in them is worth it.