By Inyali Peter
Following the recent protest by youths of the host communities alleging neglect, Lafarge Africa has flagged off a training program for over 50 youths in the 10 neighbouring communities of Mfamosing plant of the company.
The communities, Akansoko, Akwa Ikot Effanga, Abiati, Mbobui, Ekong Anaku, Diamond, Essien town and Kasuk had recently protested the underdevelopment and negative impacts of the company’s activities.
“Lafarge Africa today launched a skills acquisition program for youths in Cross River state in furtherance of the company’s efforts at contributing to skills development, capacity building and overall economic empowerment of its neighboring communities and their people said Thierry Tierrere, the Mfamosing Plant Manager.
Thierry further said that, the training for paint production, soap making, food and confectioneries and make up artistry is scheduled for a month, while welding and fabrication, AC/Fridge repairs, tailoring and designing, fish farming, aluminum fabrication, tiling, cake and fondants skill acquisition session has a longer duration of four month to eight months.
Stressing that the initiative was a bid to contribute to skills development, He said that “The challenge of Nigeria’s economy require all of us, particularly the youths to be vigilant, focused and committed in order to attain a successful feat. Therefore, the company identified the youths as the future and rightful stakeholders with whom we can partner to build a better Nigeria “and explained it was also aimed at providing a sustainable livelihood to the beneficiaries.
Some participants and other stakeholders at the Flag off commended the company for its efforts.
“This has been our agitation all this while and so we are happy that Lafarge has finally seen the need to empower their host communities through this training” says Paul Asuquo, 35.
“We are very happy and urge the company to expand it to accommodate more people in their next face because we have been told that after our batch, new set of youths will be absorbed. We are ready to support the company in any way to ensure a friendly environment for their business to thrive” Paul added.
“When we complete this training it will not only be a source of livelihood for us but we will also train other of our people who were not selected.
“Things are very difficult everywhere so having something to do that will make you self-reliance is the only option to survive. We cannot depend on government for everything so I want to thank this company for this initiative and beg them to sustain it” said Janet Eneyo.
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