…As Nigerian Breweries fetes communities, stakeholders
From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
Penultimate week was indeed hectic for the officials of the Nigerian Breweries Plc from the Ama Plant in Enugu State and others from the headquarters in Lagos as they went round to commission projects executed in the state.
The company has continued to take giant strides in its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by touching the lives of host communities, their neighbours and other stakeholders.
In the two-day projects commissioning exercise, NB Plc first visited Central Primary School Oma Eke in Udi Local Government Area, where Heineken Africa Foundation constructed water borehole and toilet facilities for the school.
When the company officials arrived at the community on that fateful Thursday afternoon, the Oma Eke natives were excited as they believed the company had finally come to solve the nagging problem of lack of potable water in the school.
Addressing the natives, the Managing Director of NB Plc, Mr Nicolaas Vervelde, who was represented at the three commissioning occasions by the Corporate Affairs Advisor of NB Plc, Mr Ofure Ekanem, said that he was happy to be in their community to support young children who are the future of the community and the country at large.
“There is no alternative to good water supply and good toilet facilities especially to pupils in a school like this. Their health is utmost and adequate care must be taken in this regard. Heineken Africa Foundation (HAF) was established in 2007 for the purpose of supporting healthcare, water supply and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa in any Heineken operating company.
The expertise, knowledge and resources of local Heineken operating companies is needed in order to make projects a success,” he said.
He also disclosed that the implementation of HAF projects was “normally done by the local Heineken operating company which in our case is Nigerian Breweries Plc with 11 locations in Nigeria and so HAF projects are spread all over Nigeria.
“Also, the proposal and establishment of the projects in Nigeria are done in partnership with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) where the projects are to be sited. Our NGO partner for this project is Pan African Community Initiative on Education and Health (PACIEH) headed by Professor Uche Amazigo.
“This project is officially named HAF 61 Water and Sanitation for School Nutrition. As the name implies, it was done to complement the school nutrition project already running here since 2013. It involves the construction of water supply facilities and provision of modern toilets for the use of the school community here. The contract for this project was signed in 2014 between HAF, PACIEH and NB Plc.”
Done on the first day, the NB Plc officials took their scissors to Ogwofia Owa Kingdom the next day to commission the six-classroom block it build at the Community Secondary School Ogwofia Imezi Owa.
The people of Ogwofia were quite excited as before now, the school besides a block constructed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi recently, was littered with dilapidated blocks.
Addressing the people, NB Plc MD, Mr Vervelde, said that his company considers education as the greatest legacy to be bequeathed to any child, pointing out that it has remained very paramount to human existence and sustainable development.
“I am, therefore, delighted to be here today as we commission yet another school block with modern facilities in support for human capital development and enhance the betterment of our children in Ogwofia Owa kingdom, Enugu State and Nigeria at large.
“In 1994, we established the Nigerian Breweries -Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund – to take a more active role in educational and research activities towards the development of Education in Nigeria. Our investments and initiatives have continued to contribute immensely to improve various aspects of education all over Nigeria in line with our philosophy of ‘Winning with Nigeria.’
“What you see here today is an outcome of this investment. Within Udi LGA alone, we have commissioned similar school blocks like this in the past few years, including Nsude, Ngwo Uno, Ahwum, and Eke communities. More of such will come,” he promised.
He noted that the model school block has six classrooms furnished with tables and chairs for the teachers and pupils, a library with workstations and books, and conveniences for all classes.
“It is our fervent hope that the facility will improve the quality of learning and knowledge enhancement for our children. My dear children, as you learn in this complex, and acquire the desired knowledge for growth, you should always think of the right ideals for you to be better Nigerians. You must shun violence and other vices militating against our economic development and nation building.
“To our teachers, I hope this motivates you and encourages you to double your dedication for the development of our children who are leaders of tomorrow. If they lack the capacity today, tomorrow will be bleak for us all and our children unborn,” he said.
Speaking, an ostensibly happy principal of the school, Mr Alex Uzodinnia, said that the day of the commissioning was remarkable in the history of Community Secondary School Ogwofia Imezi Owa.
He disclosed that the school was battling with accommodation problems, which NB Plc has come to solve by constructing “six ultra modern classrooms and well equipped library.
“Ours is now a modern school in a rural environment which for the first time is being experienced in this part of Enugu State. To God be the glory.”
Uzodinma noted that with the NB Plc gesture they are now indebted to the company.
“What we owe to this company is to make sure that these gifts are well utilized and used to build and develop our children for a better Nigerian society and the world at large,” he said.
He, however, appealed to those present to help the school renovate the dilapidated building overlooking the NB Plc new building, saying that “the building is now dilapidated, cracked, sinking, and is posing a danger to the school and the students.”
Also speaking, the President General of ODU Ogwofia community, Chief Fred Onwuamaeze said it was a thing of joy that a new page was being opened in the educational sector of the community.
He noted that the new classroom blocks are no doubt among the best classrooms in Ezeagu Local Government Area.
“While thanking you, I am also appealing to NBL to help with other amenities like borehole to enable the students to have water to run these conveniences you have provided here.
“It will equally be good that you provide the community with job opportunities and scholarship as reached in our request. Provision of these things will help the growth of the community. Be it known to you all that Nigerian Breweries is now a friend to Ogwofia Owa community,” he said.
Similarly, the traditional ruler of the community, HRH Igwe Tom Inyiama thanked NB Plc for the school building.
“You would have seen with your eyes and for yourselves the beautiful and exquisite job done by the multi-national organization for Ogwofia and her crescent youth. I dare say that whenever we count our successes and our blessings the contributions of Nigerian Breweries PLC to Ogwofia’s well-being will be enacted on a bold page and that page will be written in letters of gold.
“We thank them with all our heart and believe that in their expanded programme of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) they will still be soon around with more goodies for our rustic village community. For now, we call on the Holy and omnipotent ruler of the skies to prosper their business so that our shares from their profits will continue to grow in leaps and bounds,” he prayed.
After the Ogwofia secondary school commissioning in the afternoon, it was then time to relax as the NB Plc officials moved to open the new Officers Mess it constructed for the Nigerian Customs Service at Independence Layout.
The elated officers and men of the Customs saw the evening as one of merriment and joy in an ambient environment.
They were joined by the police band which was on hand to provide music for the evening which saw many officers from other security agencies coming to rejoice with the Customs Area Comptroller, Mr Emmanuel Amaka.
Mr Amaka who was beaming with smiles noted that it was a new dawn for the area command which comprised Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra states.
He thanked his predecessor who he said attracted the NB Plc to construct the new mess for the officers.
He said that the building of the mess showed that the NB Plc has done well in its corporate social responsibility duties.
Amaka promised that his officers would make effective use of the mess which is a big improvement of the old structure that gave way.
Giving the goodwill message of the managing director/chief executive of NB Plc, Mr Vervelde, the Corporate Affairs Adviser, Mr Ekanem, urged the officers to make the mess exclusively for NB brands.
His words: “It gives me great joy to be here today to socialize with you as we commission the Nigeria Customs Officers’ Mess constructed and furnished by Nigerian Breweries Plc. This project is in fulfillment of the promise we made to support the Enugu Command in its desire to have a befitting relaxation arena to unwind with its officers, families and friends.
“As a company, Nigerian Breweries Plc recognizes the key role the Customs Service plays in our economy. It was against this background that we acceded to the request by the Enugu Command to support a rebuilding of this Mess which was in a dilapidated and pathetic shape. You will recall that the request was made during the maiden Nigerian Breweries-Nigeria Customs Service interactive forum held here in Enugu in 2014 by the then Customs Area Comptroller.
“I am, therefore, very happy today, not just because this project is being commissioned, but by the fact that it stands as one of the concrete benefits of the Nigerian Breweries/Nigeria Customs annual interactive forum where we seek to forge better and mutually beneficial relationships.”