MONROVIA – The Chief Executive Officer of ArcelorMittal Liberia, Jozephus Coenen, might have received momentous welcome during his previous visits to communities where the steel giant is operating, but what he was accorded in Lugbeyee, Nimba County, which was the last event of the previous ones on Thursday last week when nearly a thousand elated and cheerful residents of the area, dressed in beautiful traditional festive costumes, with customary horns and samba drums turned out to welcome was extraordinary. He was also given a traditional name, “Saye Gonkarnue” as an honor to be part of them ceremoniously.
According to reports from the program, Mr. Coenen who came in company with Representative Joseph Somwarbi and others used almost an hour to tour the entire town where he visited the public clinic and other ongoing projects in the area.
Reports further also have it that the colorful ceremonies included the gowning of the AML boss as a gesture from the citizens and declaring their openness to work alongside the management of the country’s major concessionaire to foster stronger relations and partnership for increased economic and development benefits for the community and others.
Elder Laywehyee Nenwah, Head of the Traditional Council of Yarmein District, Nimba County, who performed the gowning rite expressed gratitude to the Coenen for the visit, noting that the ceremony opens a new page that will create a mutual relationship between the company and the people who he said are “the main stakeholders in the mining business.” The citizens in addition to the gowning, also presented traditional kola nuts to the CEO and entourage, which the residents described as a sign of pureness of heart towards the ArcelorMittal family.
Two other traditional leaders also spoke at the memorable program. One of them, the Clan Chief of Sehyee Clan, Annie Wehyee commended CEO Coenen and his ArcelorMittal Liberia team for valuing the traditional leaders to reach out to them. Chief Wehyee, appealed for increased support from AML and a regular exchange of information. In similar vein, Paramount Chief Richard Gbateah, who also spoke at the occasion in a statement of acknowledgment, recounted the contributions of ArcelorMittal Liberia to the communities, naming the construction of schools and clinics, and fueling road-building equipment for rehabilitation as part of the contributions.
In his remarks, the excited CEO Coenen assured the people of Lugbeyee that as part of the work of AML is to strengthen communities as well
“We need to work in a mutual relationship, and I can assure you that my engagement with you today will not be the last,” he emphasized.
In response to the request from the elders, Mr. Vaanii Kiazolu, Manager for Community Relations of AML, said the Community Relations Department will shortly return to sit with the leaders of Lugbeyee to discuss priority issues.