Ogun governor warns Lafarge Africa over improper waste disposal

OGUN State Governor Dapo Abiodun has warned the management of Lafarge Africa Plc over the company’s harmful disposal of industrial waste in the Ewekoro community in the state.

Abiodun gave the warning when the company’s management visited him in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the state capital, on Thursday, January 25.

He said residents of Ewekoro and its environs had lodged many complaints at his office.

“There was a case where excessive water used in extracting limestone was released, and it continues to flood people’s farmland, and the farmers came to the Ministry of Agriculture to complain that the action was destroying their means of livelihood,” he said.

Ewekoro, a local government area in Ogun State, southwest of Nigeria, is known for its limestone deposits used in cement production.

Since 1959, Lafarge Africa has been operating in Ewekoro, but the company’s activities have caused the residents to suffer environmental discomfort.

For over 60 years of its operation, the communities have been forced to cope with the loud noise from the blast at the quarry, the effect of the accompanying vibration, the routine plume of dust emitted into space and the health hazards of the effluence.

In January 2019, Lafarge Africa was dragged to the Federal High Court in Abeokuta by members of the Ewekoro community.

The community had accused the company of polluting and destroying their environment by mining limestone.

Warning the company for its non-compliance with the rules regarding waste disposal, the Ogun State governor, however, urged the cement giant to work on its Ewekoro plant and review activities that negatively impact the lives of the host community.

    He also urged the company to embrace global best practices in disposing of industrial wastes to safeguard the lives of the people in its areas of operations.

    He advised the management to work in synergy with the state waste management agency and environmental protection agency to address the issues.

    “It is important we work together and ensure that we are not doing business and making money while the people are suffering.

    “The impact of your activities goes beyond just mining. The blasting and mining affect several kilometres of households beyond the immediate environment. I am not sure how many households are affected; what structural damages have occurred in some of these buildings,” Abiodun said.

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