Cross River host communities threaten to shut cement firm

23 November 2016

Six host communities to Lafarge Holcim Cement Company in Cross River State, are at daggers drawn with the company over supposed neglect of the people and non-implementation of 80% Local Content Policy, LCP.

More than 500 youths laid siege to the company and handed over a 14-day ultimatum to the firm to address their demands or have its operations shut down.

They later marched to the palace of the traditional ruler of Akamkpa, HRM (Ntufam) Emayip, at Mfamosing, urging the federal and state governments to prevail on the firm to implement the local content policy and reposition its headquarters from Lagos to Calabar, capital of the state.

The youths carried placards demanding the company to treat its Cross-River host communities the way it treated Ewokoro and Ashaka host communities in Ogun and Benue states respectively.

According to them, they have been marginalized and excluded from the scheme of things by the cement giant, which brought total strangers under the guise that the host communities do not have qualified manpower.

We have graduates, we have technicians who are capable, sound and willing to do this job, but they have bluntly refused to give us the opportunity.” Speaking further, Awor said they were there to remind the company that failure to implement their demands would lead to a shutdown of the firm.

Sources said the communities were exasperated having made demands through protests, SOS, letters to both management of Lafarge Holcim and government without response, over the years.

“We even sent our grievances to their office in Zurich. Their policy on local content is 80% local; they have implemented this at Ashaka and Ewokoro, but they do not want to do the same in Cross River.

Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Lafarge Africa Plc, Folashade Ambrose, said: “We appreciate the stand of the people, we will take the message back to the management of the company and we will surely get back to the host communities.”

A youth leader, however, said the company had several times in the past maintained that it would look into the demands of the host communities, but ended up doing nothing, adding: “I hope that will not be the case this time around because the people are angry.”

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