In continuation of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) service and human capital empowerment, Dangote Cement Plc has been committed to transforming education system in the communities it operates.
Education is the pathway to any nation-building enterprise and improves the development of any society. Research has shown that Nigeria’s education system is not functioning effectively and is threatening the country’s chances of future social and economic prosperity. Only around 70 per cent of children of primary school age are receiving a formal education.
Recently, Dangote Cement, Ibese plant in Ogun State awarded scholarships to no fewer than 115 indigent pupils and students from host communities in various secondary and higher across the country. The beneficiaries drawn from the 15 host communities were given N25 million scholarship.
The plant director of the Ibese Cement Plant, Mr. Armando Martinez, while addressing the beneficiaries said the gesture was part of the efforts to contribute to the educational development of the state and enhance the manpower of the people from the host communities.
He explained that the company in addition to the CSR services have taken measures to strengthen the sustainability of the various projects provided for the people in appreciation of maintaining peace and tranquility in the communities which had made the cement plant operate smoothly over the years.
Martinez stated that the company would continue to appreciate the people from the host communities because they were part and critical aspect of its business.
“We cherish education and one of the ways through which we can impact our society is to give unfettered access to education which is why we are giving them scholarship.
“This is an opportunity that every beneficiary should make use of. We have decided to award scholarships to a total of 115 students from 15 host communities. They include 100 tertiary institution students and 15 secondary school pupils,” he said.
In his remark, foremost traditional ruler from the Yewa land, the host communities’ axis of the state, Olu of Imasayi, Oba Gbadebo Oni expressed appreciation at the gesture of Dangote Cement to award scholarship to the people of the communities on annual basis.
Besides, the monarch observed that the number of beneficiaries were increasing yearly which bear testimony to the fact that the management of the Dangote Cement was a listening one because the royal fathers had had cause to plead for the increase of the number of beneficiaries.
“This scholarship cuts across the whole country this is a one of its kind in humanitarian works. Dangote is putting programmes and projects on the ground for the young ones to tap into,” Oba Oni stated.
He also recalled that the management of Dangote Cement in Ibese had been giving some of their sons and daughters technical trainings at its Dangote Academy at Obajana, in Kogi State for technical and creative knowhow knowledge, saying “the technical Academy also create opportunities for our youths to be trained and employed. This is building up the Nigeria’s capacity of tomorrow.”
Also speaking in the same vein at the event, another monarch, Olu Aga of Aga Orile, Oba Kayode Kushoro , said his community was proud of Dangote Cement’s exploits and its willingness to give back to the communities and invest in the people.
One of the recipients, Aminat Akinsanya, a postgraduate student of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta said the Dangote Cement, Ibese’s gesture would forever be appreciated by all of them that were benefitting from the award.
She said the scholarship award would lessen the financial burden on them and their parents and would help them pay attention to their studies put more efforts in the education pursuit.
“We promise to make the company proud. We will be consistent in our studies. Most of us have been struggling to make ends meet. This gesture will help and allow us to concentrate more on our studies,” Akinsanya stated.
General manager, Administration of Dangote Cement, Ibese, Alhaji Abdulmalik Shehu, admonished the recipients of the scholarship to desist from all societal vices and face their education squarely.
He said, “Do not do drugs and do not give your parents sleepless nights. Be a pride to your parents. Work hard and be good ambassadors of Dangote Cement, these host communities and your families.
“When you graduate, think out of the box, opportunities may come your way one day. Employment is no more readily available for people anymore. So you have to be serious with your education. How you use what you’ve learnt as students is what matters. The application of what you have learnt should be your focus,” Shehu added.
Meanwhile, Aliko Dangote Foundation which is the corporate social responsibility arm of Dangote has been contributing to the development of education in the country.
Recently, chief executive officer of the Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, said the issue of education was an area the foundation was interested in because it was central to the development of the society.
She explained that the foundation would continue to do all within its resources to help in the upliftment of education and healthcare standards, disclosing that the foundation has invested heavily in both sectors.
“Education is the key for future development of our youths and the society. Most countries of the world referred to as developed achieved the height because they placed premium on education,” Youssoufou noted.
According to her, Dangote Foundation would continue to partner with groups and appropriate institutions to identify potentials among the disadvantaged students in secondary schools and help them develop their potentials through scholarship offers.
Youssoufou said the issue of education and knowledge acquisition remains a core responsibility in the discharge of the corporate social responsibility of the foundation.
Overall, education correlates with nation-build. A nation cannot be built without education. With education, professionals are nurtured that would enhance nation-building. In the same way, education leads to efficient usage of a nation’s resources which in turn is very crucial to nation-building because without efficient usage of a nation’s resources, nation-building would not be successful.This is evident in the developed nations.To continue to build their nations, they educate their citizens, because education shapes the attitudes and behaviors and values of citizens.These are qualities that are needed for nation-building and it is only education that would bring those mechanics.
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