On Monday, Lafarge Holcim Cement Company hosted by six communities under Akamkpa and Akpabuyo LGAs in Cross River state, received about 500 youths who protested against alleged marginalisation by the company in contract award and employment.
The youths from the host communities armed with placards of various inscriptions, decried the company’s inability to implement the 80 per cent local content agreement it entered with the host communities.
Youth Leader from Akansoko Community, Mr Bassey Effiong, who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved youths, said that the company’s marginalisation had rendered many youths in the area jobless.
They alleged that many letters had been written to the company for contract awards and employment consideration, all of which have yielded no result.
Lafarge cement company was accused of preferably bringing people from outside the community to work in the company instead of their own people, amongst which are graduates and technicians, all willing to do the job.
Also, Mr Ojong Etta, Youth Leader from Mbobui Community in Akamkpa LGA, said that youths were only employed to do `labour jobs’, while the executive positions were allotted to non-indigenes.
He said; “We want the Human Resource Manager of Lafarge Cement Company to be an indigene of the host communities.
We have been over marginalised in terms of employment and award of contracts. We need a change of things in the management of Lafarge Company.”
The traditional ruler of Akamkpa, Ntufam Clement Emayip, condemned the company for relocating its head office from Calabar to Lagos.
They asked the company to stop giving them excuses that they don’t have the technical know-how to work with them, and asked that the office be brought back to Calabar from Lagos.
Lafarge Director of Communication and Public Affairs, Mrs Folashade Ambrose, while addressing the people after the protest, said that the company appreciated the existing relationship between the host communities and Lafarge.
She promised to take back their complaints to the company’s management and give them a feedback on further developments.