No fewer than 500 youths from Akamkpa and Akpabuyo Local Government Areas of Cross River State on Monday protested against alleged marginalization by Lafarge Holcim Cement Company in contract award and employment.
Youths from the communities hosting the cement company decried the company’s inability to implement the 80 per cent local content agreement it entered with the host communities.
NAN reports that Lafarge Holcim is hosted by six communities under Akamkpa and Akpabuyo LGAs.
They were armed with placards of various inscriptions which read: “Give us employment and contracts; “We want the position of Human Resource Manager to come from the host communities’’.
Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved youths, Mr Bassey Effiong, Youth Leader from Akansoko Community, said that the company’s marginalisation had rendered many youths in the area jobless.
Effiong said that they had written many letters to the company to consider them for employment and award of contracts, which he said, yielded no result.
“We have graduates and technicians who are willing to do this job, but Lafarge prefers to bring people from outside to work in the company.
“We want the office to be brought back to Calabar from Lagos, and they should stop giving us excuses that we don’t have the technical know-how to work with them.
“All we are saying is that we need employment and contracts for our youths.
“The company should implement the 80 per cent local content agreement we entered with it,’’ the youths spokesperson said.
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.
“We want the Human Resource Manager of Lafarge Cement Company to be an indigene of the host communities.
“We have been over marginalized in terms of employment and award of contracts. We need a change of things in the management of Lafarge Company,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the traditional ruler of Akamkpa, Ntufam Clement Emayip, said that it was wrong to relocate the company’s head office from Calabar to Lagos.
Emayip urged the company to consider youths from the host communities for employment and award of contracts.
Addressing newsmen after the protest, Mrs Folashade Ambrose, the Lafarge Director of Communication and Public Affairs, said that the company appreciated the existing relationship between the host communities and Lafarge.
“I have heard all their complaints. I will take their messages back to the management of the company, and we will get back to the host communities soon,’’ she said.