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Lafarge Apologises For Role in ‘Importing’ Coronavirus Into Nigeria

Country Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa in Nigeria, Khaled El Dokani, has apologised for his company’s role in admitting the deadly coronavirus into Nigeria.

Mr El Dokani made the comment during a chat with Channels Television on Wednesday after a visit to the Nigeria Stock Exchange.

Lafarge, a major cement manufacturer, invited an Italian consultant into the country in late February for business purposes.

However, the Italian was diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus, Covid-19, which first emanated in China and has infected almost a hundred thousand people across the world.

The Italian’s case was the first recorded in sub-Saharan Africa at the time.

“Frankly speaking the company is not going through any low periods. We are doing great. The intention is to bring it one step forward. So we are looking at our teams and strengthening our strategy with the support of our board members and teams.

“To be honest, one of the things that has proven the resilience of Lafarge Africa PLC is the level of awareness and anticipation of our people that have been training for months and months since the coronavirus came out. And this is one of the things that shows the resilience of the company. We are very well equipped to meet such surprises. The reaction of our team on the ground and the way they reacted, the way they coordinated with our states, especially in Ogun and Lagos, was extremely prompt; it was very well appreciated.

“And I would take this opportunity to thank the Governors of Ogun and Lagos for their participation, their fast reaction and the very, very great achievement they have made to contain the situation and take the necessary precautions.

“We are a big company, a big organisation, we have a lot of resources. However, the health and safety of our employees come as a top priority. And if it is needed to sacrifice some of our results to make sure that our people are safe and healthy, this is what we are going to do. However, the current situation – and I have contact with each and every person who has been quarantined in one-and-one phone calls, they are all in very good health, the morale is high, they’ve got their phones with them, they are running the business from where they are. I look forward to overcome this issue, which is unfortunate for all of us, and we apologise for any inconvenience that has been caused to anybody.

“The plant is up and running, it has not been closed. We have our trucks shipping our cement, so this is part of the social media rumours or news which did not take place. We had visitors from the honourable Commissioner of Health, the World Health Organisation, they visited the plant and they commended each and every step we have taken so far.”


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