Dangote Cement Okpella Commits To Development, Social Support For Host Communities

…signs epochal Development Agreement with Okpella Communities

PHOTO CAPTION; L-R: Mohammed Ismaeel, Dangote Cement Plc Okpella Plant Director;  Mrs. Ese Omiruyi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Mines and Energy, Edo State; Enaholo Ogiefoh, Commissioner for Mines and Energy, Edo State and Mrs.Benedicta Ebuehi, Executive Chairman, Etsako East local Government, Edo State,  at the official signing and presentation of the first Community Development Agreement (CDA) between Dangote Cement  Okpella Plant and Okpella Host Communities held at the plant  at Okpella Edo.

Management of Dangote Cement, Okpella has signed a development and social support agreement with its Okpella Edo state host communities in demonstration of its commitment to the development and overall well-being of host communities and their people, as a responsible corporate entity

The signing of the Community Development Agreement (CDA) came just as the Edo state and the federal government commended the company for its proactiveness in planning for the growth of its host communities as a sure means of promoting peaceful co-habitation.

The Okpella Plant Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr. Mohammed Ismaeel, at the CDA signing ceremony said the cement company has fully complied with the provisions of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 and that of the Minerals and Mining Regulation 2011 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Signing the agreement on behalf of the company at Okpella, Mr. Ismaeel said the ceremony was very significant in that it aimed at promoting harmonious and mutual benefits between the cement company and its host communities.

“Today’s occasion is not only a demonstration of our compliance to these regulatory provisions as a responsible corporate organization but it also a demonstration of our commitment to the development and overall wellbeing of our host communities.

“For us as a company, we believe in the mantra, good neighbourliness is good business, hence we are doing everything possible to maintain harmonious relationships with all the communities where we operate”, Ismaeel added.

He added that the occasion marks the beginning of concrete infrastructural development and social support in the areas of education, improved access to health care, economic empowerment programmes targeted at the youths, women, and the farming population, improved access to potable water, support to improve electrification and power supply among other things.

The Plant Director pointed out that the CDA also provides scholarship grants for students in secondary and tertiary institutions to promote excellence in the educational pursuits of indigent students from Dangote Cement, Okpella host communities.

He added that the CDA document clearly states the consultative framework for engagements, grievance management and obligations of both the Plant and the host communities for mutual growth and development stressing that, it is clearly a path to define relationships, commitments, obligations, and expectations with potential to address immediate concerns and future social issues that may arise in the course of the relationship between the company and its host communities.

Ishmael then requested the host communities to keep their end of the bargain by supporting and collaborating with the company so as to foster all round development. “Be assured that we are always ready to listen, dialogue and resolve all concerns”, he noted.

Speaking on the occasion, the Edo State Commissioner for Mines and Energy, Hon. Donatus Ojiefoh, who represented the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, praised the company’s management for taking the path of peace with its host communities pledging by so doing, that the state governor will always support any investors who wants to invest in the state.

He assured the people of the communities that more investors are willing to come and invest in the state but that the people must be willing to cooperate and provide the enabling environment for them to operate.

Ojiefoh admitted that students must study the mineral resources that abound in their communities to be able to appreciate them.

In her remark, the host Etsako East Local Government Chairman, Mrs. Benedicta Atu, commended the company for signing the agreement despite the odds and the delay occasioned by some factors saying it was good that the signing took place at the time.

She called on the companies operating within the local government to urgently help with the payment of the monumentization of the boundary between Okpella and Kogi State.

Speaking for the host communities, High Chief Afiabor Peter, Secretary, Ukhomunyio Council of Village Heads, Afokpella thanked the Dangote’s Cement for the signing of the CDA, saying that it was a welcome development as it will benefit all the parties involved.

He expressed confidence that all that are contained in the agreement were thorough reflections of the wish and aspirations of the host communities and promised that the host communities would be up and doing to fulfil their own side of the bargain.


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