On Saturday, December 21, 2019, the Nimba County Community College (NCCC) graduated 116 students, with the Science College topping the record. NCCC operates three departments; Business and Public Administration, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and the Department of Science and Agriculture.
During this graduation, the Department of Science and Agriculture graduated 78 candidates, with 15 obtaining Associate of Science (ASc.) degree in General Agriculture, 9 in Forestry, one in Geology, 4 in Information Technology, 6 in Laboratory Technology, 2 in Mining Engineering, 8 in Natural Resources Management and 24 in Nursing.
The rest of the candidates received Associate of Arts in Primary Education, Secondary Education, Criminal Justice, Management, Economics and Accounting respectively.
Delivering the commencement address at the NCCC’s 5th Commencement Convocation, Marcus Wleh, an official of ArcelorMittal Liberia, urged the graduates to go beyond the class learning by focusing on the positive things in their careers.
“Don’t stop learning, continue to make your story different and focus on the positive in your careers,” he said, adding: “Whatever you do, do it differently to please your bosses and be extraordinary in everything you do.”
During his speech, Wleh disclosed that the ArcelorMittal has invested about US$1.7 billion in Liberia since it began operations in 2005.
He outlined some of the company’s achievements, including US$40 million for the construction Ganta-Yekepa road, US$500 million for the rehabilitation of the railroad from Yekepa to Buchanan, and US$35 million in community development funds.
He also outlined expenses made on installation of community hand pumps, provision of free medical services to over 30,000 Liberians, and the relocation of miners or farmers from the mining zone as part of the total expenditure.
According to Wleh, ArcelorMittal Liberia has over 2,000 Liberians in its direct employ.
Wleh’s remarks sparked tension among the audience, with Nimba County District #3 Rep. Joseph Sonwabi arguing that despite the huge investment announced by Mittal, Yekepa and it environs still remain in ruin, with most of the estates still in bushes and hospitals yet to regain its pre-war status.
“I am shocked by this news, because Yekepa is yet to regain its prewar status and nothing the affected communities can point to since Mittal began operation in Liberia,” he said.
“Instead of Mittal renovating the estates, they brought in container houses. So, it leaves anyone with the question where was the investment made.”
There have been series of protests along the railroad by former employees of AML over benefits or reemployment.
According to the President of the Nimba County Community College, Dr. Edward Lama Wonkeryor, AML is indebted to the college for about US$200,000 since 2011.
He said the amount was US$ 400,000 but AML paid 200,000 recently.
Despite of the argument that ensued concerning ArcelorMittal’s expenditure analysis, Mr. Wleh reaffirmed AML’s continued support to the college.