Edo State-based Chinese firm, Yongxing Steel Company, has called on other foreign companies to invest in Nigeria.
This call is coming on the heels of sharp division among the workers on whether there is a need for them to have an organised workers union in the over 10-year-old company.
Managing Director of the company, Frank Wang, at a stakeholders’ interactive session on Sunday, said his firm has created 700 direct employment as well as 10,000 indirect jobs.
Represented by the spokesman Ben Den and his address read by the Assistant Public Relations Officer of the company, Olufemi Isaac, the steel company boss expressed the firm’s willingness to support the country.
He added that Nigeria’s current challenges was not enough to discourage investors from maximizing the advantages of investing in Nigeria with its huge population.
He said: “I want to use this opportunity to encourage other foreign investors not to run away from Nigeria. There is no economy that does not have difficulties. Our duty is to support the nation in her efforts to surmount those difficulties.
“Those of us in the construction sector need to be more patient with Nigeria, a growing economy that is on the rise. With the huge infrastructural gap in the country, the construction sector will continue to grow and any foreign investor in that sector is not likely to regret it in the end,” he stated.
The Managing Director stated that the firm’s waste to wealth programme has created hundreds of employment opportunities while also ensuring a cleaner environment just as he attributed the success story of the company to the support of stakeholders, particularly the staff and the host community.
The Enogie (Duke) of Ogua, Chief Ogie Aghaghowen, commended the steel company for creating an economically friendly environment and also for ensuring peace in Ogua community.
However, while the briefing was going on with support from some members of both the junior and senior staff who said they were comfortable with the working conditions and environment presented by the company and were therefore opposed to having a union, some of the workers carried placards outside protesting alleged inhumane working conditions.
Speaking on the controversy of having a union in the company, National Secretary of the Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria (SEWUN),an affiliate of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Kassim Kadiri alleged that the company had reneged on its agreement to allow union in the company.
He said “We got to know about the company in 2013, and we have tried to unionize the place, but what they did was to organize some workers inside the company, who said that they don’t want a union. We wanted to meet the management, but they kept tossing us around until 2014 when we declared a Trade Dispute against the management.”
Kadiri alleged that the Memorandum of Agreement which was signed in 2015 for the company to allow for a union was broken when the company immediately transferred the elected chairman to its warehouse in Kano state he said the state government and set up another committee to look into the matter once more.