Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday, February 3, 2022. Lafarge Africa Plc., a leading Sub-Saharan Africa building solutions company and member of Holcim, a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, has announced the launch of the Lafarge Driving Institute in its Ewekoro plant in Ogun State, South-West Nigeria.
The Lafarge Driving Institute in the South-West is the second of-its-kind created by the building solutions company following the commissioning of the first driving institute in the South East in 2017. The company has continued to provide drivers who have enrolled in the institute with industry-leading training programs tailored to the needs of Nigerian heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) such as trucks, trailers and articulated vehicles drivers.
Speaking at the launch of the event, Country CEO of Lafarge Africa Plc., Mr. Khaled El Dokani, stressed Lafarge’s commitment to improving health and safety within its operations and ultimately in its wider community. “At Lafarge, we recognize that we have a job to do in improving road safety and we are committed to investing in safety innovation, both within our organisation and along our supply chain. We see safety as key to creating sustainable and profitable operations – boosting productivity and increasing operational efficiencies and business performance in a tangible way.”
According to El Dokani, the continuing number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads demands concrete mitigation action. We must institute appropriate measures to improve road safety.
Data received from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) showed that between August 2020 and June 2021, 1,070 crashes involving heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) such as trucks, trailers and articulated vehicles occurred.
He further said: “One major way to reduce road-related incidents and achieve our goal is to raise the standard of driver training in our operation and ensure drivers think about safety first and always while on the road. Embedding a strong culture of road safety at the heart of HVG drivers is paramount. This requires the right training and coaching to understand the risks involved in performing their task, shape their behaviours and to develop safety processes.”
“As an organisation, our ambitions remain the same as they did when the first Lafarge Driving Institute was established in 2017: efficient, sustainable and safe road transport. There is no denying the fact that we’ve had a good run these past few years. With the opening of this new centre, we are now extending the same amazing opportunity to more people by bringing it to the southwest.”
“We are extremely delighted with the progress we’ve made in a short amount of time and the commissioning of the South West Driving institute today is a practical demonstration of our commitment to improving operational performance, even as we strive for world-class standards,” he stressed.
In the same vein, the Chief Finance Officer/Supply Chain Director of Lafarge, Mr. Lolu Akinyemi, disclosed that the new driving institute is proof of the organisation’s commitment to propelling socio-economic growth and investment in the country. “With this new facility, Lafarge is taking critical steps in implementing its training programme and investing in developing its drivers while embedding the ideal culture within its driver community.”
“Our goal is to create a fully structured and well-equipped learning environment to improve the knowledge, safety, and method of truck driving in Nigeria. With an ultra-modern facility housing a lecture hall, a laboratory, and a loading zone among others, this initiative will help Lafarge Africa to improve transportation, increase safety and thereby reduce lost time injury,” he noted.
He said: “We have a robust vision and well-defined road map to assure the safety of our drivers and external parties involved in our logistics operations. The road map which was developed in 2015 undergoes continuous improvement and our road safety strategy has narrowed our focus and key strategic intents to deliver on our ambition “0” i.e. zero injuries, zero fatality in our operations.”
The Project Manager, LDI and Country Logistics Safety Manager, Bolaji Anani explained that the goal of the organisation is not for graduates from the institute to only deliver its products safely and in good conditions but that they serve as role models for safe driving to fellow truck drivers and other drivers on Nigerian roads.
“We believe in the principles of sustainable development and responsibility to all our stakeholders and the society at large. And we will continue to strive towards turning this belief into visible action by investing in different initiatives showing our commitment to the current and future generations,” he stressed.
He said the company will continue to support the industry to offer more skills training for existing and would be HGV drivers and to look at ways at improving the standard of a truck driving across the country.
The institute is a continuous partnership with Automated Integrated Services Limited and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to address professionalism and ensure that Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) are manned by professionals who have passed through a comprehensive training program tailored to the needs of Nigerian truck drivers
The Managing Director, Automated Integrated Services Limited (IASL), Mrs Adeniun Taiwo commended the company for its continuous effort into partnering with them, as the programme will enhance professionalism amongst drivers of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) in the society.
She said: “The Lafarge Drivers’ Institute (LDI) in partnership with Automated Integrated Services Limited will admit trainees to embark on a truckers training project. We are indeed proud of this continuous partnership and hope to see the beneficiaries come out to be professional truck drivers in our society with the aim to reduce road accident.
Speaking on the positive effect of Lafarge Africa’s operations on its host communities, the Assistant Corps Commander (ACC), Itori Unit, Ewekoro, Caleb S. Yerima., commended the company for highly impactful interventions that continue to cater for the needs of host communities and also their zeal towards gender equality. He also commended Lafarge for establishing the Driving Institute in Ewekoro as it has contributed to the state government’s initiative at empowering the people through skills acquisition.
“We want to appreciate Lafarge for this initiative and making it necessary to provide an institution in our environment that will improve driving culture. Lafarge has contributed in making this route motorable, and with this training it will further enhance it. Anyone that is privileged to be trained is expected to put the training into use and we are very happy to even hear that woman are coming on board, this of course will develop and build confidence in our women.”
Chairman, Ewekoro Community Relations Committee (CRC), Chief Dotun Oderinde, who spoke on behalf of the 12 Ewekoro host communities, described the project as essential life support for the people of Ewekoro, while also reiterating that the driving institute will give room for more qualified truck drivers. He lauded the cement company’s management for promoting community development, especially its palliative measures and providing jobs for the people.
He said; “On behalf of the Lafarge host communities, we appreciate the effort by the company to keep on empowering our youth, this initiative will not only train truck drivers but will also create jobs in the community. And we are happy that our women will be a part of this initiative so they can graduate and be a leading example to the others”
Apart from the need to meet the world standard in operating HGV in Nigeria, the Lafarge Training Institute has provided job opportunities for Nigerians. In 2020, the building solutions company committed ₦132m to train hundreds of truck drivers at the South East Training Institute in Calabar.
As a customer-oriented organisation, Lafarge Africa has supported customers in the acquisition of 20tonne trucks to support the redistribution and improved shelf presence of its products while partnering to grow their business. This truck ownership scheme was also extended to its Logistic Service Providers who support its overall drive in developing the market by ensuring products reach all nooks and crannies. This initiative has helped to build its capacity and grow its businesses.
About Lafarge Africa Plc
Lafarge Africa Plc, a leading Sub-Saharan Africa building solutions company is a member of Holcim Limited, a world leader in building solutions accelerating our world’s green transformation. Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Lafarge Africa is actively participating in the urbanization and economic growth of Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa.
Lafarge Africa has the widest footprint in Nigeria with cement operations in the South West (Ewekoro and Sagamu in Ogun State), North East (Ashaka, in Gombe State), South East (Mfamosing, Cross Rivers State) with Ready-Mix operations in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. Lafarge Africa has a current installed cement production capacity of 10.5Mtpa.
Lafarge Africa leverages on its innovative expertise to provide value-added products and services solutions in the building and construction industry in Nigeria. Additional information is available on the web site at www.lafarge.com.ng
Holcim builds progress for people and the planet. As a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, Holcim is enabling greener cities, smarter infrastructure and improving living standards around the world. With sustainability at the core of its strategy Holcim is becoming a net zero company, with its people and communities at the heart of its success. The company is driving the circular economy as a world leader in recycling to build more with less. Holcim is the company behind some of the world’s most trusted brands in the building sector including ACC, Aggregate Industries, Ambuja Cement, Disensa, Firestone Building Products, Geocycle, Holcim and Lafarge. Holcim is 70,000 people around the world who are passionate about building progress for people and the planet through four business segments: Cement, Ready-Mix Concrete, Aggregates and Solutions & Products.
More information is available on www.holcim.com