The Kogi State chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), has called on the Dangote Group to take the issue of environmental protection and corporate social responsibility for its host communities in the state as paramount.
The State chairman of NYCN, Oladele Nihi made the call on Thursday when he led members of his executive on an advocacy visit to the management of the Dangote Cement Plant at Obajana, Kogi State.
He said the essence of the visit was to present the complaints of the people of Awowu and Onupi communities in Ankpa Local Government where Dangote is involved in coal mining activities and those of Obajana community in Lokoja Local Government where the company is involved in mining, extraction and production of cement.
In his presentation, he expressed the displeasure of the youth council over the negative impacts of uncontrolled environmental pollution ongoing in those host communities and the neglect of the corporate social responsibility of the company to the host communities.
“Since we assumed office, we have been inundated with series of concerns about the activities of Dangote Plc in these communities, we have also carried out an independent fact finding on this issues and realized that they are actually genuine concerns by our people.
“One of the biggest problems in these communities is access to clean water. The constant coal mining activities has hugely polluted water from the stream making it unsafe for drinking and washing of clothes.
“The contaminated residue water make their way back to the community’s stream bearing in mind that the greatest risk mining brings to water sources is Acid Mine Drainage.
“Most villagers cannot sleep in their homes because of the loud unbearable noise from the mining equipment and also for safety as they claim their lives are being threatened.
“As a council which represents the interest of the over 1.8 million Kogi State Youths (who are mostly the worst affected), we have taken it upon ourselves to join the league of those calling for the right thing to be done,” he said.
The youth council amongst others demands that the company construct the deplorable roads and provide potable water for members of the host communities.
Making their contributions, the Vice Chairman (East), Comrade Sunday Alih, who is from Ankpa local government area and the NYCN coordinator, Lokoja Local Government chapter, Abdullahi Adamu lamented that the company has neglected its corporate a social responsibilities despite benefiting “hugely” from host communities.
“We are just amplifying the cry of our people, and we are resolute in following it to the logical conclusion,”Adamu said.
Responding, the General Manager, Human Resources and Administration of the company, George Ofurum said Dangote was trying its best in meeting up with their corporate-social responsibilities.
“The peace and security that we enjoy in our host communities today is a clear testimony that all is well. Your coming today will go a long way in adding momentum to our drive.
“I can assure you that all the points raised will be forwarded to the headquarters where they will be adequately addressed,” he said.