Host communities where cement manufacturing company, Lafarge Cement Wapco Plc, has its plants in Ogun State have asked the cement giants to give them a portion of its annual profit. Twelve communities in the host community have demanded that they want shares out of the company’s profit.
Some leaders of the communities which include the Chairman, Lafarge host communities’ employment committee, Chief Olaleye Olalekan; Baale of Ewekoro, Chief Satar Lawal; Baale of Akinbo, Chief Rasheed Balogun; Baale of Egba Ajegunle, Chief Joshua Oniyitan; and a youth leader, Mr. Segun Oniyitan, commended many interventions made by the company in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility, but they noted that it could still do better by giving them a part of its annual profit.
The leaders also commended the firm’s Managing Director, Mr. Joe Hudson, and plant managers, who they said had been proactive in attending to issues bordering on their safety and environment.
Olalekan said, “We believe what they are giving us now are mere palliatives, they should start thinking of how we will get a certain percentage of their annual profit.
“When one considers what is being taken out and what we get in return, it is definitely not enough. They can do better.”
They said they agreed with the company’s plan to relocate the residents of Oke Oko Sekoni and Oke Oko Egbado communities in the Ewekoro area due to their closeness to Lafarge’s quarry site. They, however, urged Lafarge to increase the pace of work at the proposed site.
The Baale of Ewekoro said though the air pollution occasioned by the blasting and processing activities of Lafarge in the area had reduced from 100 per cent to 75 per cent due to a dust collector installed there, he noted that the communities affected would be happier if the dust level would be totally eradicated.
Lawal said, “In our communities, we grow vegetables and other crops. The dust from the production activities of Lafarge usually settles on them. This means we have to wash them thoroughly before sending them to market or cooking. We are appealing to the company to bring the dust to zero level.”
The Baale of Akinbo said work had commenced on the concrete road being constructed for Akinbo community. He appealed to the company to expedite action on it since the rainy season had caught up with the work.
He said, “The Company has commenced work on the concrete 2.5km road it promised us in Akinbo, about 500 metres have been done. We want it to expedite action on it, because the rains are here and we all know the implication of that.
Balogun said, “We want to commend the company for its many interventions in the area of health care, education, electrification, potable water, economic empowerment and offering of scholarship to our children in many communities. But we believe they can still do more.”
The Baale of Egba Ajegunle, said about 70 per cent of Lafarge’s production activities were in Ewekoro. He called on the management of the company to employ more youths in the area.
The Ewekoro Forum youth leaderalso echoed the Baale.
He said, “We are appealing to the management of Lafarge to employ more youths. The number they have employed so far is too low.
“They should also empower us economically by giving us contracts and distributorship opportunities.
“This is one of the ways they will justify the huge gains they are making from our communities.”