Citizens Demand ArcelorMittal Project Plan
By Wellington G. Patrick
SANNIQUELLIE, Feb 17 (LINA) - Citizens of Nimba County under the banner,
'Concerned Nimbaians' have demanded ArcelorMittal’s project implementation plan to acquaint themselves with the mining firm’s activities.
Speaking at a concession engagement forum at the weekend, the leadership of the group told the management of the company to catalog both short and long-term development projects it has agreed to implement in the county since it met with the people of Nimba County on September 7, 2013.
The projects expected by the citizens include relocation of the G.W Harley Hospital in Sanniquellie, renovation plan for Yekepa and pavement of the Yekepa- Ganta high-way as well as ArcelorMittal's contribution to the development of the Nimba County Community College.
The citizens also stressed the need to relocate the G.W Harley hospital to mitigate health hazards created by the passage of locomotive trains 80 meters from the hospital.
The citizens also asked ArcelorMittal to extend branches of the Liberia Vocation Technical Center (LVTC) to Ganta and Saclepea to facilitate speedy capacity building of Liberians to prepare them to take on jobs with the company.
The citizens also called on the company to establish its own security firm that will employ Liberians, instead of sub-contracting private security entities that easily exploit the services of locals.
The concerned citizens also asked the company to turn over some managerial positions to qualified Nimba citizens as a way of involving the county in its operations.
The pressure group also wants pipe-bone water, high school, and modern clinics for citizens of the most affected communities.
In response, the management team of ArcelorMittal Liberia agreed to review the projects, attach an implementation timeline for deliberation with the people of Nimba on Saturday, 15 March.
Executive Officer Antonio Maria said his company is committed to working with the Liberian people.
He informed the gathering that his company relieved 17 expatriates of their jobs and replaced them with qualified Liberians in late 2013, because, he said, the mining firm’s philosophy is working with local people.
The concession engagement forum was attended by Christiana Dagadu, Superintendent of Nimba, Thomas Grupee, Chairman of the Nimba Legislative Caucus, civil society organizations, chiefs, youths and student representatives.