By Dotun Ibiwoye
Benue Cement Company (BCC), a member of the Dangote Group, has spent over N400 million providing basic amenities and paying compensation to host communities in the last three years. Specifically, projects executed in the host communities range from provision of electricity to scholarship scheme.
A statement signed by Tony Chiejina, Group Head, Corporate Communications, Dangote Group stated that the projects were part of the companyâ€™s social responsibility (CSR) programme aimed at improving the lives of members of its host communities namely Mbayion, Ipav and Yandav by providing them with electricity, boreholes, classroom blocks, fertilizers and scholarships to indigenous students.
Accordingly to the statement, the Cement company spent a total of N134 million to relocate and resettle residents from Mbayion query site, while N78million was disbursed in the construction of classroom blocks. A total of N75million was spent providing electricity to the host communities. An earth dam was also constructed at the cost of N51million in Tsekuche-Mbayion community to serve as source of water for over 4,000 inhabitants of the community.
Additional N15million was expended on the construction of boreholes in the communities, as N2.5million was used to construct a bridge in one of the communities to facilitate movement in hitherto difficult terrain.
Various sums were also expended providing fertilizers to farmers, youth motorcycle scheme, provision of water stands and construction of an examination hall.
Hon. John Atunba Ahungwa, one of the community opinion leaders in Ipav village commended the group for its efforts in providing certain basic amenities which are the primary responsibilities of the government.
He said power supply has helped enhance economic activities in the village and its environs. According to him: â€œBefore the Dangote Group came, there was no electricity in this village. But now it has been able to provide power to us.
Because of this we have been able to keep thieves at bay and the people who operate restaurants are able to sell cold drinks and water.â€
He said other small businesses that need power are beginning to emerge and thrive.
Also commenting on the groupâ€™s efforts in Mbayion community where the main cement factory is located, Mr. Gideon Ityase, the Vice President 1 of Yion Development Association (YDA) also confirmed that the group has intervened in areas of electricity, education and water supply amongst others.
Mr Ityase said: â€œThe group has built about 11 classroom blocks at various locations in the Yion clan. They also introduced a scholarship scheme which started last year.
They gave N10million for the scholarship scheme last year and this year they have also given another N10million which is what we are currently disbursing. They also supplied school materials like books and chalks to all the schools where they built classroom blocks.â€
He said â€œThere are other projects that were embarked on by the group in the community. These include, among others, the water projects. Boreholes have been drilled in various places to provide water for residents to meet their domestic needs.
So far, 21 borehole projects completed to provide further access to water for various communities in Ipav, Yandev and Mbayion.
Mr ityase further explained that an earth dam was also constructed in the community as a source of safe drinking water and irrigation to boost farming in the community. The rich and extensive deposit of limestone in this community makes it increasingly difficult for piped_in water or borehole to function effectively.
Plans are afoot towards building a health care centre for the host community with 20 beds and staff provided by the Benue State Government. Estimated project cost is about N100 million. About 70,000 inhabitants of the seven districts of Mbayion community are expected to benefit from this project.
In order to boost sporting activities in the state, the Benue Cement Company has marshalled out revitalization scheme by way of financial support for BCC Lions Football Club; one of Nigeriaâ€™s foremost football club.
The Benue Cement Company (BCC) was acquired by the Dangote Group in 2004 when it was at a descript state. The group then injected huge funds to revive the ailing factory.
With a workforce of 900, the facility currently operates at 2.8 metric tonnes per annum, or an average of 7000 metric tonnes per day. The projected capacity is 3 million metric tonnes per annum by the end of this year, on an average of 8,000 metric tonnes per day.
The Dangote Group has deployed new technologies in cement production in BCC to improve efficiency.
BCC continues to ensure plant optimisation and improved efficiency, while it promotes consistent quality control to ensure that it meets and exceeds customersâ€™ expectations.