By Alemma Aliu
OGUA—BARELY two months after NDV reported a looming epidemic at Ogua, a rural community in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area, Edo State, over the activities of Yongxing Steel Company, a Chinese firm, the narrative has changed.
Residents of the community, who scored the company low on Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, had in the report, accused the firm of environment degradation, forcing the state Ministry of Environment to order an independent audit, which confirmed the people’s fears.
However, the company dealt with the problem directly and currently, Ogua has become one of the fastest growing towns in the local government area with a newly built market, a secondary school project to commence next month (July) in the community and other projects that have been lined up.
At the opening of the new market few days ago, the Enogie, HRH Ogiesoba Aghaghowen, told NDV: “I am full of joy. We have been dreaming of this and it has come to pass. I am grateful to the company, but they should do more, such as good roads.
”I am grateful having this market opened here. It is going to be daily because here is a suburb and the population is growing. Although people can come here every day, but there is going to be a special day. The company said it would, by next month, begin the construction of a secondary school.”
We undertake to bring devt to Ogua—Yongxing
Yongxing spokesperson, Olufemi Isaac, while welcoming delegates at the ceremony, said: “Yongxing Steel Company started operation here since 2013. It has been a peaceful stay, thanks to the state government, local government and specifically, the community, headed by a special man, the Enogie of Ogua.
“The company, by God’s grace, has come to stay and with the blessing of the community and people of Edo State, we are happy to be around you. In short, Edo State is the best place one can stay in Nigeria and Ogua is a beautiful community to live in.
“Yongxing has donated a market of 40 units and 10 stores with a borehole. By this, it has paved way for other projects to come up in the future like a standard secondary school, which is our next target and construction will begin in a month’s time.
“I want to assure you that the management from this moment is going to do all possible best to bring development to this community in time to come.”
The state Commissioner for Environment and Public Utility, Alonge Oni-Opaku, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Lucky Wasa, said the ministry as a regulator, would continue to encourage companies operating “in our communities to ensure that they fulfill their CSR.
“We thank the company for building this market. There is no doubt that this market will help enhance the business activities in Ogua community. From the high public relations I have seen with the Enogie, his chiefs and his people, they are full of smiles and appreciate the efforts.
“It is on that score I will urge the company to continue to fulfill its CSR and we are delighted to hear that by next month, it will commence the building of a secondary school.
”Let me also urge the community to continue to provide an enabling environment for the company to operate.”