Today, at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Nigeria’s foremost industrialist and philanthropist, Aliko Dangote, will be touching more lives when he donates to victims of the March 8, 2017 violent clash between the Yoruba and Hausa communities in the ancient town.
The two parties had clashed on the day reportedly following a disagreement between a Yoruba woman and a Hausa man over a minor issue regarding a shop. The disagreement snowballed into a major, bloody crisis that claimed about 45 lives and extensive damage to property. Many shops, vehicles and goods worth millions of naira were destroyed. Many of the traders lost all their wares and have been finding it difficult to return to business.
Dangote will, however, be putting smiles back on the faces of the victims of the losses today with some donations, as he further gives practical vent to his commitment to lift many lives desiring attention.
Besides the numerous philanthropic gestures that he directly undertakes, the President of the Dangote Group had established a Corporate Social Responsibility vehicle, the Dangote Foundation, to handle philanthropic projects that impact on human development. In March 2014, Aliko endowed the Foundation with N200 billion to enable it carry out its mission as it gradually scales up its work. The financial votes to the Foundation and the interventions it has done so far make it one of the largest charity organisations in Africa.
Big beneficiaries of the Aliko touch are the communities where the Dangote cement factories are located in Obajana, Kogi State; Ibese, Ogun State and Gboko, Benue State. In Ogun State, Dangote Cement commissioned, two years ago, the 26-kilometre Itori-Ibese concrete road which has been enabling smooth motoring. The concrete road innovation has been highly welcomed and described as ingenious by stakeholders and top engineers who contended it would help Nigeria save more money and help address the issue of accidents and constant road maintenance.
In the same vein, the company is building a 42.5km concrete road from Obajana to Kabba in Kogi State. All these have cost the company billions of naira.
The Group has also established the Dangote Academy to train young technicians and craftsmen that are expected to boost the manpower needs of the nation’s industries. It also donated N153 million to boost Nigeria’s fight against the Ebola Virus Disease in 2014, and another $3m to the African Union (AU) to help combat the scourge.
Only recently, the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, expressed appreciation that the Dangote Cement had scaled up its charity projects in the state. Ortom, who was speaking at the Dangote Cement’s commissioning and presentation of tricycles to some communities in Gboko, was also elated that the company paid a staggering tax of N700m to the Benue State coffers. The governor said that without the Dangote Group, there would have been a huge vacuum in the state’s economy. He described the Dangote Group as a dependable partner, and commended it for creating direct and indirect jobs opportunities in the state.
“Alhaji Aliko Dangote is a great Nigerian whom God has endowed with wisdom to drive the economy through the private sector. This company is better off compared to when it was in the hands of government. If not for Dangote, BCC Gboko would have been occupied by rats and reptiles,” Ortom said. Actually, the BCC Gboko premises had been occupied by reptiles and rodents before the Dangote Group acquired it and completely turned it around.
According to the Benue governor, “We are restricted by the downturn in the economy. The capacity to engage people by the government is no longer there. So this new corporate social responsibility scheme is really commendable. The tricycles will facilitate movement and the cement depots will facilitate development and reduce hardship of travelling long distance before getting the product.”
Other CSR projects by Dangote Cement in Benue State include the electrification of villages at Masaje, Ipav, Gaando, Mbayion, Quarry Community, Igyula-Mbayion, Amua-Mbayion, Tsekutsa-Mbayion and some communities at Ukpekpe-Mbayion; procurement of 50 motorcycles on a revolving scheme basis and construction of 14 blocks of classrooms in different host communities.
Others are construction of a bridge at Mkar, donation of N15m to the Yion Clan Foundation, construction of 21 boreholes in some communities of Mbayion, Yandev and Ipav, with arrangements already in place to reactivate non-functional ones; procurement of four trucks of fertilizers on a revolving scheme for the Mbayion community; construction of a block of classrooms for the Quarry Community, construction of an examination hall at Mbatyula Progressive College, Tsekucha; and annual disbursement of the sum of N10m for scholarship grants to Mbayion students in higher institutions of learning.
“We have vigilante contract with all our host communities for which we pay over N3m monthly. We do engage some skilled and unskilled youths of the host communities in our employment as part of our Youth Economic Empowerment Programme,” a statement from the Dangote Cement said.
In Obajana, Kogi State where the country’s biggest cement plant is located, Dangote’s Cement’s CSR schemes have gone beyond the billion naira mark.
Some of the company’s philanthropic works in Obajana are the construction of a 33kv overhead high tension transmission line from Kabba junction to the Obajana communities, solar boreholes with storage accessories, construction of low tension transmission lines, extension of low tension lines and upgrading of capacity of transformer 5.5 KVA, water reticulation to some fetching points and erosion control works.
Others are re-routing of high tension transmission lines, Clinic project (with waiting lobbies, pharmacy, female and male wards, doctors and nurses bays), construction of a block of classrooms with Teachers’ waiting room, construction of 6km Obajana-Oyo concrete road, annual scholarship grants, and support to cultures, festivities and farmers.
A major support from Dangote Cement to its host communities is the provision of job opportunities for indigenes and award of contracts to their businessmen and women.
The former Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Professor Ben Angwe, said the Dangote Group should be commended for its CSR projects everywhere, adding that the company should not rest on its oars in supporting the people.
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