To fulfil its corporate social responsibility profile, Dangote Cement Plc, Ibese Plant has announced a multi-million naira scholarship for 115 students from its 15 host communities for the 2017/2018 academic session.
The company said the scholarship has become an annual event meant to contribute to the educational development of the people and the area and position them in right place in the scheme of things in Ogun State and Nigeria in general.
The acting Plant Director of Dangote Cement, Ibese, Mr. Louis Raj, while speaking during the presentation of cheques to the beneficiaries, at Ibese Plant, explained that the management decided to increase the number of beneficiaries to 115 from the previous 80 so that more children of the area could benefit.
He said the decision was meant to encourage the young ones to go to school as a sure way of building them mentally and morally so that they can be good to themselves and the society.
According to him, the scholarship award is one of the many social services the company has committed itself to and continues to provide other social services as a way of giving back to the society within which it operates.
Raj stated that the scholarship and other CSR projects were being undertaken as a way of saying thank you to the people for maintaining and sustaining peace in the area, pointing out that it was the prevailing atmosphere of peace that makes the company to operate smoothly.
He expressed the managementâ€™s gratitude to the royal fathers and other community leaders whose efforts have accounted for the peace and tranquillity, adding that the company would wish the spirit of peaceful coexistence continues.
The General Manager, Government and Community Relations, Joseph Alabi, while giving the breakdown of the scholarship, said the award covered 115 students of Yewa origin studying various courses in several higher institutions across the country, as well as secondary schools scattered across Ogun State.
Alabi also announced a list of candidates from the host communities who have been selected to attend Dangote Academy for training in various arts and vocations, pointing out that the training would equip them with the wherewithal to work and do their own business whenever they chose to.
â€œIn Dangote Group, CSR to our communities is our watchword and focus. Giving scholarships, construction of roads and drainages, provision of transformers and other projects to connect communities to national grid, among others are what we do every year. We award scholarships to communities in order to give the communities part of the wealth being created.
â€œI think everything is not about money but the main benefit is to provide them the opportunity to have better education 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,â€ he added.
In his remarks, the Olu of Imasayi, Oba Gbadebo Oni, said the host communities are happy with the companyâ€™s handling of community issues, saying that Alhaji Aliko Dangote deserves all the cooperation his people could muster for establishing the cement plant in their land and then taking care of the people and the communities.
He promised that his people would continue to give peace a chance always because to whom much is given, much is expected. The monarch said the scholarship is the best thing that has happened to the host communities because the issue of quality education cannot be quantified in monetary terms.
The scholarship according to him has offered a big relief to parents who have to struggle to ensure that their childrenâ€™s school fees are paid, saying that they will forever be grateful to the management of the company.
Also, Dangote Cement Plc, Gboko Factory in Benue State had also awarded N20 million worth of scholarships to indigent students from the firmâ€™s host community, Mbayion, as part of its CSR in the last one year.
The group also emerged Nigeriaâ€™s best CSR company according to a survey by Governance Advancement Initiative for Nigeria (GAIN), an NGO.
Dangote was adjudged the overall winner among 25 Nigerian and multinational companies operating in the country in 2016, scoring 6.3 per cent, followed by Nestle with 5.51 per cent and Etisalat with 5.45 per cent.