By Jeremiah Archibong
The Paramount Ruler of Akamkpa Local Government Area, His Royal Majesty Ntufam Clement Emayi has chided the United Cement Company of Nigeria, UNICEM for not showing up in the thanksgiving service organized by their host communities (Akamkpa and Akpabuyo).
His Royal Majesty in this interview with CrossRiverWatch said he is extremely angry that the company bluntly refused attending the thanksgiving ceremony without excuse. He maintained that the thanksgiving was put together to show the world that after a long tussle between the company and their host community, they had achieved a compromise; pointing out that their absence leaves more to be desired.
According to the monarch, “The absence of UNICEM during the thanksgiving shows they don’t have gratitude towards the host community. I am angry with all the companies in UNICEM, I signed the owner consent in Abuja alongside my fellow clan heads for them to start work since then, they have not done anything for us in appreciation other than divide us.”
Decrying the challenges the host communities pass through in the hands of the cement giant, he revealed that “We are dying from air and water pollution; they don’t give a dime for the decades of operations. They don’t develop the communities; UNICEM should drill boreholes for us as our water bodies have been gravely polluted which has made our people especially the children fall ill.
“I don’t have a palace of my own which by way of support through cooperate social responsibility, they ought to build or assist, since I laid the foundation, they are yet to visit. They also don’t consider indigenes while employing as people from Port Harcourt, Lagos and far away are given higher preference, the communities are not considered for anything good.
“What is been done is the enrichment of some families with no sign of genuine commitment to developing the community. No borehole, no electricity, their actions have made our children very sick but no treatment. I’m angry with the way UNICEM is handling our roads, take a look at the roads, accidents happen every day because it is too bad”.
Reacting to alleged physical assault of indigenous workers of the various companies that work under UNICEM, he angrily maintained that, It is the business of the government to handle those who mishandle the indigenous workers. This shows that they want the youths to cause trouble in the community. “Since all these started, my community has not taken any illegal action because I keep calming them.
“This is so because at the end, they will claim we the signatories are the ones engineering the young ones to cause trouble, but it has never happened before because we are very patient people. But at a point we will carry out a peaceful demonstration if necessary because if we stop them for one or two days, they will lose millions”.
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