Femi Ogbonnikan in Abeokuta
As part of efforts to give to back to the communities where it operates, Lafarge Africa, manufacturer of cement located in Ewekoro, Ogun State, said it has spent about N168 million on various community projects, cutting across education, healthcare delivery service, economic empowerment, agricultural produce and elderly care support programmes.
Besides, the multinational cement firm gave the sum of N100,000 bursary award each to 187 undergraduate students in various tertiary institutions spread across the country; empowered 114 adults with funds and trade equipment;103 farmers with farm tools and high yielding seeds and seedlings and also gave funds, foodstuffs, drugs, sanitary kits, among others, to 155 elders, all drawn from about 15 communities within Ewekoro local government area.
Speaking at the 2018 Lafarge Community Day held in Ewekoro, Lafarge Africa Country, Chief Executive Officer, Michel Puchercos, declared that the socio-economic interventions provided for one of its host communities in Ogun state- Ewekoro-were made as part of effort to support the sustained growth and development of its host communities, with a view to ensuring mutually benefitted relationship between the firm and the communities it operates.
Puchercos, noted that Lafarge Africa is in Nigeria to help ensure socio-economic growth and development through human capital development, physical well-being, economic empowerment, technical and vocational training, education, as well as agricultural production.
He said, “For the Ewekoro Community in Ogun State, projects launched at the Community Day, include a block of five classrooms to the Local Government Nursery and Primary School, Jagunna, Itori and a renovated block of four classrooms, head teacher and assistant head teacher’s offices with toilets for both teachers and pupils at First Africa Mission School, Lapeleke.
“For health and well-being, projects launched include Laboratory equipment at the Health Centre built by Lafarge Africa for Egbado Ajegunle, construction of 14 bedded health centres located at three communities in Ewekoro local government area of Ogun state and installation of a substation and electrification of Oke Oko Egbado community.
“Also in a bid to improve the quality of produce from our farmlands and create more opportunities for our people to live better, agricultural support was provided to farmers while several members of the Ewekoro community also benefitted from economic empowerment programmes.
“To reiterate Lafarge Africa’s commitment to education, over 200 students of higher institutions from the Ewekoro community are beneficiaries of bursary awards.”
While expressing appreciation to the Ogun state government and traditional rulers in the communities for exemplary leadership they have continued to display, Puchercos added, “Lafarge Africa’s commitment to the development of our local communities is unwavering.
“As an organisation, we recognise our host communities as our partners, building progressively together for the future, while ensuring that we leave positive footprints that will impact the society.
“We thank all our stakeholders for supporting our goal of creating sustainable, peaceful communities. We especially thank the leaders and people in our host communities for creating an enabling environment for us to operate”.
Also, in his speech, the Baale of one of the host communities, Joshua Oniyitan (Ilufemiloye I), expressed appreciation to Lafarge Africa, describing the projects as a timely intervention.
“We sincerely appreciate the commitment of the management of Lafarge Africa for making sure these projects were completed as they have raised the standard of our children, mothers, our pregnant women, the elderly and the community at large to the next level”, he said.