Women of Nimba Refute Media Report That ‘Nimbaians Want ArcelorMittal Out’  

Amid the ongoing crisis at the concession site of ArcelorMittal in Yekepa Nimba County over the last few days, the women of Nimba County during a news conference distanced themselves on the crisis.

Below is the full text of the statement read by the women:  

Good morning, esteemed members of the press, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens of Nimba County. We gather here today with a solemn purpose, a unified voice representing the women of Nimba County, Liberia. We are here to address recent events that have stirred up some of our communities and, are of serious concern to the entire county. We firmly assert our stance on these matters vital to the future of our County.

More importantly, we the women of this great county, representing the voice of all of our people, have always tried to keep the peace of Liberia since we overcame the sad past of the 1980s and 90s. We have come to distance the people of Nimba from the misleading and well-concocted publication of the Daily Observer newspaper, of Wednesday, May 8, 20rcell24, 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 involved.

While noting these discrepancies, we also acknowledge the contributions made by ArcelorMittal Liberia to our local economy and development initiatives, including the ongoing Ganta – Yakepa road project $40 million, ArcelorMittal annual support to our own 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 our children, construction of playgrounds in several communities to make our children happy, significant relocation payments to our farmers, the ArcelorMittal Training Academy which has been giving high-level skills to our children, 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 including our own Nimba County, since the company came.

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.

Thank you.

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