By Solomon T. Gaye, Sr.
District 3 Representative in Nimba County, Joseph Sonwabi, has termed the road condition to the hospital operated by ArcelorMittal in Yekepa as deplorable.
Representative Sonwabi said that the 150-bed hospital owned by ArcelorMittal is operating below the standard of a clinic under the watchful eyes of the Ministry of Health in the county.
He told Inquirer’s correspondent in the county that the hospital still needs modern equipment, medical drugs and to be well furnished with trained specialized medical doctors.
He added that, ArcelorMittal is only after mining iron ore from the mountains around Nimba to make more profits yet cares less about the welfare of their workers.
Representative Sonwabi further revealed that ArcelorMittal has failed to execute the mineral agreements signed between the government, and the people of Nimba that seeks to renovate damaged houses constructed in 1960 by former LAMCO in Yekepa, Nimba County.
Since the coming into power of CDC government in 2018, working relationship between Legislative Caucus of Nimba and the government continue to decline over Social Development Funds intended for the county.
Recently Senator Prince Yormie Johnson pointed accusing fingers at ArcellorMittal Steel Company over the continual use of the Social Development Funds intended for the county.
Meanwhile, five legislators from the county on last Saturday visited the ArcelorMittal Liberia Yekepa concession on a citizens’ engagement tour to obtain information about AML’s operations, and to interact with staff of the company.
Representatives Roger Domah, D. Twain Gleekia, Gonpue L. Kargon, Prince S. Tokpah, and Senator Jeremiah Koung, visited the Tokadeh Mines and the residential area and AML Hospital in Yekepa, and also visited some non-operational locations around Area F.
Senator Koung who headed the team said it was part of their responsibilities as lawmakers to engage with ArcelorMittal on the concerns of the citizens, stating that they are all working for the development of Liberia as the common agenda.
He concluded that “the citizens have the right to petition their representatives. When they do, we have to come and listen to them and see for ourselves.”
During a debriefing session held at the ArcelorMittal Liberia Training Academy, AML’s Head of Government and Community Relations Marcus Wleh said AML welcomed the visit of the Nimba lawmakers and stressed that as a leader in Liberia’s private sector, the company operates in an open, transparent, and accountable manner.
Wleh said, “ArcelorMittal Liberia is honored to be contributing immensely to Liberia’s economy and explained that with the progress being made on the company’s expansion project, there will be more opportunities in the areas of jobs, education, training and development, and revenue generation for the Government.”
Recounting that two weeks ago, the Government of Liberia and ArcelorMittal signed a landmark amendment to the company’s Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) which paves the way to triple its mining and logistics operations in Liberia to export 15 million tons of concentrate annually and that the additional capital required to complete the project is expected to be approximately $ 800 million.
However, ArcelorMittal Liberia expressed concerns about the worrying precedent being set by some of the lawmakers during their visit when they made statements that appear to support acts of impropriety against the company; failing to check the fact amidst derogatory remarks against the company and personnel and also their refusal to follow safety and security protocols and only reinforced a state of impunity that was voiced.
ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel and mining company, with a presence in 60 countries and primary steelmaking facilities in 17 countries.
Nimba Lawmakers Discredit
ArcelorMittal In Yekepa
By Solomon T. Gaye, Sr.