Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has expressed dissatisfaction with the attitude of Lafarge Africa Plc and others to the deplorable state of the Abeokuta-Ota-Lagos Expressway.
Governor Abiodun, while receiving its management team, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta on Monday, regretted that a world-class company like Lafarge Africa Plc was unmindful of the deplorable state of the Abeokuta-Ota-Lagos which serves it in many ways.
The governor said that although Ogun State has secured the permission of the Federal Government to reconstruct the road, the cost, which was initially at about N70 billion, would be in the region of N150 billion or more due to the high cost of Asphalt, diesel, and cement as a result of inflation.
“I must say that I am not impressed with the attitude Larfarge has shown to the state of the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road and this road serves you and other industries around that axis.
“The worst section of that road is right in front of your factory and I wonder how a world-class company is so unmindful about the state of the road particularly when your trucks are part of those that contributed to the level of depreciation of that road.
“It is important we sit down and identify what portion of the expanse of that road Larfarge and the likes are going to contribute because the truth is that you are one of the biggest contributors to the condition of that road.
“Your trucks are causing damage to the road. They are carrying cement and raw materials and most of those trucks are even overcapacitating the design of the road,” the governor said.
Abiodun called on the management of Larfarge to use global best practices in disposing of industrial waste in their areas of operation.
He noted that multinationals needed to safeguard the lives of the people while operating in their localities.
The governor who frowns at the noncompliance with laid down rules on waste disposal by the company at its Ewekoro plant, said their activities have negatively impacted the lives and livelihoods of the people of the area.
He said: “In the area of Environmental Impact, I recalled that at some point in time, my Ministry of Environment has come to discuss with you because I was disturbed by some of the reports I was getting.
“When I listened to some of your laudable initiatives and compared to the reports I got, particularly the report that talked about nonproper regeneration of some land that has been mined, and yet you said you have regenerated them and planted trees, we are very concerned, particularly with what happened in Ibadan.
“The impact of your activities goes beyond just mining. The blasting and mining affects several kilometers of households beyond the immediate miles and I am not sure how many households are affected, or what structural damages have occurred in some of these buildings.”
The governor, who cited many complaints lodged at his office by residents of Ewekoro and its environs, added: “There was a case where excessive water used in extracting limestone was released and it continued to flood people’s farmlands and the farmers have come to the Ministry of Agriculture to complained that the excessive water is now destroying their means of livelihood.
“I would also like to bring to your attention the issue of air pollution and I want you to work closely with the Ogun State Waste Waste Management Agency (OGWAMA) and the Ogun State Environmental Protection Agency (OGEPA), to resolve the issues.
“We must work together and ensure that we are not doing business and making money while the people are suffering.”
He thanked the company for its efforts at improving the socio-economic development of the area through its Corporate Social Responsibilities, assuring that his administration would collaborate and strengthen relationships for the benefit of all.
Speaking earlier, the Group Managing Director of Lafarge, Mr. Lolu Alade Akinyemi, said the company in its 64 years of operation in the Ewekoro axis of the State, has helped in boosting the economy of the area and contributed significantly to the economic growth of the state.
The company, according to Alade Akinyemi, has through its Corporate Social Responsibilities supported education, infrastructure, and health and improved the overall well-being of the communities where it operates.
He called for a harmonious relationship between the company and the host communities.