Dangote Cement marks Host Community Day with multi-million-naira empowerment programmes

L- R, Assistant Director in the Ministry of Solid Minirals Development, Mines Environmental Compliance Department, Ochimana A. Matthew; Permanent Secretary, Ogun Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, Dr. Aikulola Olu-Ola (representing the Ogun State Commissioner for Trade and Investment); General Manager, Dangote Packaging, Ibese Plant, (DPL) Engr. Kizito Ugbaja; HRM, Oba Lukman Kuoye, Olu of Imosayi; HRM, Oba Kayode Adio Kushoro, Olu of Aga Olowo; HRM, Oba Daniel Abayomi Salako, Aboro of Iboro; Dangote Cement Ibese Plant Director, Azad Nawabuddin; HRM, Oba Rotimi Oluseyi Mulero, Aboro of Ibeseland standing behind some of beneficiaries of Scholarship presented during the 2023 Community Day Celebration by Dangote Cement plc, Ibese Plant in Ogun state.

Dangote Cement Plc, Ibese Plant, has marked its 2023 Host Community Day in a grand style with the unveiling of four multi-million Naira empowerment schemes targeted at youths, women, farmers and students in the company's host communities.

At the well attended event witnessed by leading traditional rulers, women and youth leaders from the host communities, 103 indigent and brilliant secondary and tertiary institution students across the 17 host communities were given scholarship awards and another set of 30 youths trained on shoe and bag-making were presented to the delight of the royal fathers.

In the same vein, the management of Dangote Cement Ibese presented 60 Weeding Machines procured for farmers to help them clear their farms with ease, given that the communities are majorly agrarian and crop planting has been their means of livelihood.

Not less than 50 women selected from the host communities were also empowered with deep freezers to help them cope with the prevailing economic challenge in the country. Same number of women were also gifted with ultra-modern grinding machines during the celebration of the maiden edition of the Community Day last year. 

Recall that the cement company had earlier intervened in a prolonged outage in some of the communities by procuring cables and other materials needed for the restoration of electricity to the affected communities.

Speaking on the occasion held inside the cement plant’s staff estate in Ibese, the Plant Director, Mr. Azad Nawabuddin, noted that the company had stepped up its social interventions, given the prevailing challenging situation across the world.

According to him, businesses and families across the world and in Nigeria have been confronted with socio-economic challenges in the year 2023, pointing out that a lot has happened to test the peoples' and organisations' resilience and innovation, but that Dangote Cement has been able to weather the storm and remained afloat mainly due to the unalloyed supports received from the host communities. 

Reeling out some social investments carried out during the year, among other things, the Plant Director said “this year, we embarked on 23 social investment projects and revamp of ten non-functional CSR projects across the 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." 

He described the scholarship programme as the oldest of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the plant and added that the scheme, which started with 28 students, has grown to cover 103 tertiary institution students and 17 secondary school students on annual basis.

Noting that the selected students enjoy scholarship up to graduation stage, after which the concerned communities supply replacements, he disclosed that a total of 989 Scholarships have been awarded under the scheme to date with many testaments to the positive impacts on the various communities. 

On youth empowerment, the Dangote Cement boss said youths are regarded as a very critical stakeholder group in every society, but expressed regret that it has become impracticable for governments and businesses to meet the employment demand of all the youths.

On empowerment of the farmers, Nawabuddin stated that the farmers need support to take advantage of the available large span of arable land and that was why Dangote Cement Ibese procured 60 Weeding Machines for the farmer beneficiaries, "as it is becoming increasingly difficult to source labour from the neighbouring Benin Republic as was the usual practice."

According to him, the farmers have undergone one-day training on the usage and basic maintenance of the tool. The Implementing partner, Equinox, which is also locally sourced to promote local content, also offered to train specially two of the beneficiaries on the repair to guarantee sustainability.

On the decision to empower women, he explained that Dangote Cement management recognised the important role women play in building families and by extension, the society; thus the company provided a platform for regular engagement with women representatives of the Host Communities tagged 'Women Assembly'.

In his goodwill message, the Aboro of Ibeseland, Oba Rotimi Oluwaseyi Mulero thanked the management of Dangote Cement, Ibese Plant for its gesture in impacting their host communities positively, noting that the people are happy and the company should not relent in its social interventions.

Similarly, Ogun State Commissioner for Trade and Investments, Adebola Sofela, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Olu Aikulola, in a goodwill message, commended Dangote Cement for the various interventions in form of empowerment of the people, describing the gesture as a kind of relief to the state government.

Oba Kayode Kusoro, the Olu of Aga Olowo in an interview with newsmen described the Community Day as a good one as it affords the people a good opportunity to bond 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."
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