The dredging of the River Niger has brought smiles to the youths in the cooperating communities, writes PEMBI STEPHEN-DAVID.
When in September 10, 2009, Umaru Musa Yar’Adu led federal government flag off the dredging of the River Niger In Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, little did Halidu Ibrahim, a native of Baro community in Niger State know that he will be part of the staff that will carry out the all important project.
Halidu Ibrahim, 26, was an unemployed young man in the village who lived from hand to mouth. But today, he says he is grateful to God for giving him the opportunity to be employed by William Lloyd Company.
"I was jobless and moving from one place to the other. Then this company call William Lloyd came to town and was looking for those who would work for them.
They said they want to get indegines to do the work. So I was chosen to be among those who do the dredging work. Today, I can take care of myself and my old parents.’’
Isiyaku Adullahi is not alone in this, he says over twenty natives of the cooporating communities of the dredged river are in the pay roll of the company. "You see, many of us who are working here and other places were doing nothing before.
But we are involved in one job or the other today. It helps to keep body and soul together."
Gemu Gezaura is a secondary school leaver, he says he was using his uncle’s bike for Okada but his uncle had to collect it because he‘‘was not bringing enough returns’’ as he puts it. So when Lloyd came on board, he had reasons to rejoice again.
‘‘ I was a hopeless villager before the dredging work started but today, from the money I made by working for Lloyd, I have been able to save about sixty thousand naira which I intend to use to by my own bike when the whole project is over.’’
For Mohammed Umar, who until he was employed by Lloyd Technical Company, he had nothing doing, it is a dream come true. ‘‘I have always admired people who work in construction companies. I like the way they organise themselves and the way they work.
So working here is a fulfilment of what I desire. Aside that, I can now buy one thing or the other from the money I make working as a dredging staff.’’
The story is not different in Janmata. Gimba Alhassan, who was a local butcher, now has reasons "to earn a living and be better because I have a new trade,’’ he says. "I was making little or no money from the meat business because only few people buy meat around this area. But today, I have learned a trade that I can survive on.’’
Usman, a 29-year old native of Janmata, is the third child of the family of 8. He says his father is too ill to carter for the family and his older brothers have no work to do.
So when in October 2009, Lloyd Technical Company engaged him as a trainee dredge master, he knew he had been called to rescue his family from poverty. ‘‘With no food in the house and no money to buy drugs for my father, when I was asked to join this company as a staff here in Janmata, I was happy because I was sure I will earn some money to take care of the family.’’
Today, three years later, Usman is responsible for buying his father’s drugs and feeding of the family.
Tanimu Alhassan has a work to do and he does it well because he wants to win the heart of the company that has given him a lot. ‘‘Lloyd has made me smile.
For a very long time I was out of work. I had worked as a commercial bus conductor in Abuja for two years before I came back to Janmata in 2008. I stayed here for a year with no work to do. But today I have something to do,’’ he said happily.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP about this feat, the village head of Baro, Alhaji Zackari said the company has been kind enough to employ many youths in the community and it has helped to reduce the rate of deveined behaviour in the community.
"Lloyd Company has help us by not only doing their work, but by engaging our youths in carrying out the dredging work in our community. When they first came, we thought they were going to ask for a few hands to help in guiding their facilities but they have done more than that.’’
According to the Managing Director and CEO of the company, Mr Lloyds Nwankwo,‘‘ The policy we have adopted in our dredging and construction work wherever we go is not to use the locals to do menial jobs; we try to train them to carry out skilled work. If you must know, the dredging project from Baro to Janmate, which we handle, covers Essu,Akwuano, Rakabu, Barka, and Lambata. Others are Edoh, Budor,Gbanjuku,Geri and so on.
They are over twenty communities and in all of these communities we have engaged thirty young men. Some of them are being trained to become dredge masters as they are currently trainee dredge masters.’’
Explaining the nature of the work Lloyd Technical Co. carries out in Baro, Lloyd says they were allotted lot 5 capital dredging.
He says with a mission to be the leading company in dredging, construction and engineering, Lloyd Technical Company is poised to be recognised for providing save, quality and prompt delivery services.