Thursday, 7 June 2018

Stop taking the civility of C'River youth for granted, Asu Okang tells corporate business organizations

Esther Okoi & Efio-Ita Nyok|7 June 2018 

The Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Comrade Asu Okang, Wednesday, has expressed clear disappointment at the attitude of Cooperate Business Operators in the State towards their Cooperate Social Responsibility to the youths in particular and the people of the Cross River State in general.

Comrade Okang who informed that the State has youths who are professionals in different fields of endeavour and who are poised to make a difference stated this during an unscheduled visit to the General Manager (GM) and management of Niger Mills Ltd (Flour Mills), inferred that "Flour Mills is the worst company in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility to the State."

The Youth and Sports Commissioner inquired from the management of Flour Mills: how many Cross River Youths supply raw materials to the Company; how many Cross Riverians are distributors of their end products; and how many Cross River Youths are involved in general supplies in the entire supply chain of the Company. He expressed disappointment and dissatisfaction at the level of involvement of Young persons in the Company.

Pressing forth his demands, Comrade Okang demanded for: the engagement of Cross River Youths in the supply chain of Flour Mills; staff enrollment both at the management and junior cadre in keeping to the Nigeria Labour Congress and Local Content Laws which provides that the Junior cadre (levels 1-6) should be for indigenes; considerate level of engagement of young Cross Riverians in the Corporate Social Responsibility of the Company; and being an active participant/supporter of the Cross State Multisectoral Programmes through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, aimed at reaching over fifteen thousand (15,000) young persons across the State.

Okang's exact words, 'the unscheduled visit first, was to clearly look at the company's staff enrolment, to ascertain their level of compliance to local content laws governing their operations, especially as it concerns the youth from the state at both management and lower cadre.

'Secondly, was to ascertain how many youth in the state are currently involved in the company's supply chain, at both distribution of finished products and supply of raw materials to the company.

'And thirdly to look at their level of compliance to Corporate Social Responsibility laws especially as it concerns youth based activities. 

'As expected, it was abysmally poor and clearly unacceptable. I threatened a shut down if the trend is not reversed as fast as possible. We can not continue to be adamant while job spaces and opportunities meant to be filled by indigenous youth are constantly occupied by 'imported' cronies of members of staff and by non-Cross Riverians.' 

Continuing, the leading youth of the state informed that, 'The good news however is that the company' s management promised to turn a new leave'.

Responding, the management of Flour Mills explained that the Company is taking Fourteen Youths (14) through skills acquisition; capacity building and training of students of Department of Cereal Crops, University of Calabar; and the maintenance of drainages around Ekorinim in 2015. They however promised to look into the demands made by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Comrade Okang.

Recall that, only last  two weeks, Comrade Okang had issued an ultimatum to all corporate organisations operating in the state to observe the local content laws of the state.

The Commissioner confessed that the visit was a big eye-opener and thus promised to hence conduct routine book checks on all corporate organisations operating in the state. This move is expected to create a new kurtosis for engagement of our young people and eliminate 'selling of slots' rightfully meant for Cross Riverians.

Concludingly, Okang said 'It's not likely to be an easy task, but we trust God for grace to face every pending challenge, the journey to liberation has commenced, there's no going back!'. 

Esther Okoi & Efio-Ita Nyok writes from Calabar 

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