Appreciating AML will encourage the company to do more,”

NIMBA-The citizens of the affected AML communities had been told to appreciate AML so as to encourage the company to do more.

Speaking at the COPDA Stakeholders Engagement Forum in Gbapa, Nimba County recently, ArcelorMittal Liberia Community Relations Officer assigned at the concession area of Yekepa in Nimba County Edmund Saye Gbah urged community dwellers in the company’s mines-affected areas to seek truthful information instead of dwelling on misinformation and disinformation.

Mr. Gbah indicated that it beats his imagination to realize that people in AML operation areas whose children are immensely benefiting the company’s learning and education programs are the same people accusing the company of doing nothing for the locals.

He explained that lies exist in every given society, something he said the only way truth will prevail over lies is when the citizens diligently seek information from the authorized sources.

“Before I proceed,” he said, “I want to pass on certain information about things that are happening-first in Liberia, second in Nimba and third in the place that ArcelorMittal operates.

“The first thing is Liberian people have decided to accept lies as a way to survive,” he said.

“Only false stories we can believe, so when you lie, you are a good man, Mr. Gbah asserted.

He further explained that when you come to Nimba especially as a politician or advocate and you don’t talk about ArcelorMittal, it means that you are not man.

Mr. Gbah explained the third thing is when something happens, we don’t find out before making comment.

Earlier, several women heads representing nine mine affected communities. decried lack of basic social services such as handpump, electricity and good roads, while some complained that the company has absolutely done anything in their areas to improve the living conditions.

Some of them even accused ArcelorMittal Liberia of denying their children’s employment and scholarship opportunities, despite being direct members of the affected communities in the company’s operational areas.

My community does not have a functional handpump, the three handpumps are spoiled and the road is very deplorable, said Madam Betty Sonwarbi, a resident of Lugbayee.

The Another resident of one of the affected communities Evelyn Flomo of Bonlah town said the only public school building in her community has been damaged as a result of the blasting of rock up the mine by the company, while Madam Sannie Gono of Bolo village complained of lack of townhall in her community.

However, the AML Community Relations Officer said citizens of the affected communities need to be truthful when explaining the constraints, emphasizing that the community dwellers need to highlight the real issues, beginning with what AML has done and is doing.

“People need to be appreciative. AML has done more in the areas of community development, compensations for crops and Diamond creek in the mines affected communities especially Gbapa and Zolowee, he said.

ArcelorMittal early this year announced a robust community engagement and information dissemination as part of strategies to get communities in the three project counties of Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa involved in their daily activities.

Mr. Gbah said the company had made provision of scholarship to empower the citizens of Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa Counties. adding that, like the Social development Fund, the scholarship will be distributed equitably with Nimba receiving 50%, Bong 15% and Grand Bassa 35%.

A one-day Stakeholder Engagement Forum was conducted by the local Civil Society Organization known as ‘Committee for Peace and Development Advocacy’ COPDA, Inc, in Gbarpa for women from the affected communities in. Nimba.

The one-day Forum focuses on AML Strategy for Livelihood Restoration targeting Project Affected Persons: What is the Plan of Action for 2022 and What can Mine Affected Communities Expect in regard to the News of the Ratification of the Extended AML MDA.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Committee for Peace and Development Advocacy (COPDA) Ted Brooks has assured the women of his organization support to their advocacy for infrastructure development and the restoration of transformational basic social services in their communities.

He also underscored the importance of women’s participation and inclusion, something he intoned that women deserve to be given the space to deliver.

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