Nimba Women Denounce Action against ArcelorMittal -Say, “We didn’t Tell Company to Leave”

MONROVIA: Amidst some reportage in the media that the citizens of Nimba County are protesting for the departure of ArcelorMittal Mining Company from operating in the county, a group of women from Nimba has stoutly dissociated themselves from the purported claim, insisting that while there have “some valid concerns regarding ArcelorMittal Liberia’s operations in the County, but never been to the extent of asking the company to pack its bag and leave”, and affirmed their unwavering commitment to dialogue, transparency, and accountability in addressing these concerns”

In an issued press statement, they said women have always tried to keep the peace of Liberia since the country came through the crises in the 80’s and 90’s and are aware the effect of conflicts in a country. The women said they were issuing the statement to respond to a story published by the Daily Observer newspaper on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, titled, “Nimbaians Want ArcelorMittal Out”

“First and foremost, we wish to unequivocally distance the people of Nimba from the recent disruptions orchestrated by a small, hired group from some communities within our beloved County, which was supported by disgruntled individuals who lost control of a part of our mining communities illegally acquired in 2019. Even more concerning is that these individuals are not from our County; however, their actions are not imposing blemish on all of us as a county. We stand firm in our rejection of the call by that paid group calling for ArcelorMittal Liberia to depart from our County. The recent protests, purportedly led by a faction under the guise of traditional people representation, do not reflect the sentiments of our broader Nimba community.

“Nimba County has long been a beacon of resilience, cooperation, and progress, making our County the most economically vibrant county in our country only after Montserrado County. We acknowledge that there have been some valid concerns regarding ArcelorMittal Liberia’s operations in the County, but never been to the extent of asking the company to pack its bag and leave. We affirm our unwavering commitment to dialogue, transparency, and accountability in addressing these concerns. It is imperative that all stakeholders engage in constructive dialogue to find sustainable solutions that prioritize the well-being of our entire county and respect the rights of all parties involve”, the group said.

The women said while they noted the discrepancies in the operations of AML, they were quick to recognize the contribution the concessionaire has been making to the local economy and other developmental initiatives, including but not limited to the ongoing Ganta – Yakepa road project worth $40 million, ArcelorMittal annual support to the Nimba County University, support for the relocation of the G.W. Hardley hospital in Sanniquellie, partnership for the recently dedicated Gbapa clinic, local and international scholarships for students from Nimba, construction of playgrounds in several communities to make the  children happy, significant relocation payments to farmers, the ArcelorMittal Training Academy which has been giving high-level skills to young people of the county, in additional to the total of over US$48 million paid to the government of Liberia so far as County Social Development Fund to the three host counties of Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa Counties since the inception of the company.

“Today, these planted disruptive activities have distracted our attention from the most urgent challenges that face our county, including the ArcelorMittal US$7 million paid to the former government which is yet to reach the ground to address our urgent development needs. The partnership between our communities and ArcelorMittal has been integral to our shared progress, and we remain committed to fostering mutually beneficial relationships with other responsible corporate entities as well.

“In times of challenge, unity, and solidarity are our greatest assets. We call upon all stakeholders, including government authorities, civil society organizations, environmental advocates, and concerned citizens, to come together in a spirit of cooperation and understanding. By working together, we can address our grievances, uphold justice, and safeguard the future of Nimba County for generations to come.

“In closing, let it be known that the women of Nimba County stand united in our commitment to building a prosperous and sustainable future for our county. We reject division and strife, opting instead for dialogue and cooperation. Together, we shall overcome challenges and chart a path toward a brighter tomorrow”, the statement concluded.

2 Comments
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