IBESE-YEWA – Dangote Cement Plc, Ibese Plant, in Yewa North Local Government of Ogun State, has taken its social performance initiative a notch higher with the launch of Multi-Million Naira Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects for its host communities.
At the event tagged “2022 Host Community Day”, held on Saturday, December 17, 2022, the company unveiled various empowerment programmes in skill acquisition, scholarship, farming techniques training as well as empowerment of vulnerable women in its 17 host communities.
Amid pomp and pageantry, more than 120 students from primary school to higher institutions filed out to receive their scholarship cheques, while 50 vulnerable women, among them widows went home with grinding machines to support their household income.
Dangote Cement, Ibese Plant equally launched its maiden issue of Community Newsletter as part of measures to intimate the people of the host communities wherever they are on developments as far as social performance record in host communities is concerned.
The traditional rulers of the host communities that graced the occasion were full of praises to the management of Dangote Cement as they joined in the unveiling of some projects already completed for the use of the people.
In the same vein, no fewer than 60 farmers were presented to the audience as having been trained in the year on Good Agricultural Practices for Maize Production in an attempt to boost agricultural production while another 30 youths are currently undergoing training on Domestic Electrification and Installation.
Speaking on the occasion, the Dangote Cement, Ibese Plant Director, Mr. Azad Nawabuddin described the event as a demonstration of the Company’s commitment to continuous improvement of the relationship between Ibese Plant and its Host Communities.
He stated that “it has been a milestone in over 10 years of existence of Ibese Plant, with the cardinal objective of celebrating and appreciating our primary stakeholders for granting us the social license to operate in a sustainable manner, while also taking stock of our imprints within the calendar year.
“I make bold to say that Dangote Cement, Plant Ibese has been able to weather the challenges of year 2022 because of the collaboration and understanding enjoyed from our stakeholders.
“The socio-economic challenges bedeviling businesses across the globe and in Nigeria notwithstanding, I am delighted to state that we have stepped up our Social Performance as a Plant in 2022, in pursuit of our vision to be a world class enterprise that is passionate about the standard of living of the people.”
The Ibese Plant boss recalled, “Earlier in the year, we were able to renew our social contract with the host communities by signing a five-year Community Development Agreement (CDA), following extensive engagements and concessions with a wide spectrum of our community stakeholders.
“The new CDA provided an opportunity to review and improve our social performance approach in line with the Group and Global Standards, and to introduce new programmes, while also enhancing the existing ones.”
While expressing appreciation to the to the community leaders, representatives and members who worked assiduously in achieving the feat, Mr. Nawabuddin assured of his management’s commitment to keeping to its terms of the agreement.
According to him, “This year, we embarked on a total of twenty-one (21) social investment projects across the seventeen (17) host communities, in line with the thematic focus of DCP’s Social Investments, i.e. Education, Health, Infrastructure and Empowerment, and we have so far recorded remarkable progress in their implementations.
“As at today, we have completed the 435m township road at Aga Olowo, a block of five classrooms at First African Church Mission School at Balogun, a block of five classrooms at United African Methodist Church School, Ibese, a block of five classrooms at United Anglican Primary School, Ibese, Lecture Theatre at School of Nursing, Ilaro, Solar Powered Borehole at Wasimi-Imasayi, Health Centre, Iboro, and installation of LT Poles and Conductors at Kajola and Babalawo communities.
“The rest of the infrastructure and electrical projects are at advance stages and will be accomplished in due course. There will be symbolic commissioning and handing over of the completed projects at this event.
“Also, the number of beneficiaries of the annual Scholarship Award to brilliant and indigent students, which commenced in the 2012/2013 session, has massively increased from 28 students to 120 students with 103 in the tertiary institutions and 17 in secondary schools.
“It is our hope that this support would not only continue to complement the effort of Government in the education sector, but also serve as succor to the parents of the beneficiaries.
“Let me also place on record that so far, the Plant has given out 870 scholarship awards as a means of contributing to the capacity development of our people. Youths, Women and Farmers are not left out of this year’s community development initiatives. Thirty (30) youths are currently being trained on Domestic Electrification and Installation by our implementing partner, Industrial Training Fund. All the trainees will receive their starter packs upon the completion of the extensive and practical training in January 2023, to enable them put the training into productive use.
“You will all agree with me that pepper grinding is an essential service usually provided by women in all our communities. This is why today we are empowering, 50 vulnerable women across our communities through provision of Pepper Grinding Machines, which will immediately spur them into entrepreneurship as business owners. Please join us in empowering and stabilizing our beneficiaries of today through your patronage.”
Nawaduddin explained that the 60 farmers being trained on Good Agricultural Practices for Maize Production is to introduce the farmers to modern agriculture techniques and cutting edge technology in farming following which they were supported through land clearing, seedlings, herbicides and fertilizer provision for maize planting on a hectare of land each.
He noted that “another innovation being brought into the plant’s Social Performance Operations, is the launch of an annual Community Newsletter to give account of our stewardship in this critical area of our business and showcase other people focused activities of our Plant to the delight of our people.
Speaking with newsmen, the Aboro of Ibeseland, Oba Rotimi Oluwaseyi Mulero thanked the management of Dangote Cement, Ibese Plant for their unrelenting efforts at impacting their host communities, positively, describing the social performance profile of the company as very impressive.
He explained that with what Dangote Cement has been doing for the people, it behooves on the community leaders and all the residents to reciprocate and ensure peace reigns for the good of all so that the company can do more.
Oba Mulero said much as the people and community leaders are lauding the company for the giant strides in the host communities, “I am also enjoining them not rest on their oars. As Oliver twist, we are still asking for more because all these projects can never be too much for the people.
“Dangote Cement has done excellently well, are we talk about the grinding machine to the vulnerable women, the youth empowerment or the farmers training for better yields, these are programmes that really touch on the economic wellbeing of our people and we are grateful for these.”
In his own comment, Oba Kayode Kusoro, the Olu of Aga Olowo described the Host Community Day as a good programme as it affords the people of bonding together with the Dangote Cement Ibese management and compare notes on the journey so far.
According to him, “the presence of Dangote Cement in the Yewa North local government area of Ogun state has marked out the area as an industrial hub because by virtue of the presence, other ancillary businesses are now springing up.”