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Ajimobi challenges tobacco firms to showcase their operations which promote long life, healthy living
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By Staff Reporter
November 20, 2013 19:44:51pm GMT      |      Views: 988
Gov Abiola Ajimobi

WorldStage Newsonline-- Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has challenged tobacco companies, in the face of criticisms against their operations by rights groups which deploy their pro-death operations, to show the world the areas of their operations which promote long life and healthy living among the people.

He made this call on Wednesday at the commissioning of the recreation centre of the British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN’s) Ibadan office.

According to Ajimobi, with the global rise against cigarette smoking in the world, tobacco companies must show examples of their contributions to society.

“Show the world how you have provided social services. What are you doing generally about environmental, infrastructural support to government? Have you extended your environmental works to your neighbouring environment? What about road infrastructure?

“What are you doing in the area of health? How are you partnering with us to reduce tuberculosis in Oyo State? Have you encouraged cooperative society of farmers? Apart from the area of planting of the leaves of tobacco which you have contributed significantly through synergy with our farmers, have you for instance acquired hectares of land, in partnership with IITA, for instance, in training young farmers?” the governor queried. 

He commended BATN as an example of sustainable Foreign Direct Investment that is working in Nigeria, stating that he was delighted that the manufacturing operations of the company are based in Oyo state.

“BATN’s operations have been of great economic benefits to Nigerians, especially to indigenes of Oyo State, where the factory is situated. Let me put on record the robust partnership between BATN and our local farmers in agricultural enterprises, as well as the charitable activities of the BATN Foundation. Through the latter, community development projects have been executed in support of sustainable agricultural development,” Ajimobi said.

The governor lauded the drive towards concern for the health of employees by big companies which he said was a commendable move.

“I commend the awareness by organizations that, as they are investing in the wellbeing of their staff, they are invariably investing in the well-being of their organizations. This is due to the fact that when employees present with less medical challenges, there would be smoothness of work and work output would be multiplied. Second is that, the increasing awareness all over the world that obesity, hypertension, diabetes and the like are greatest killer diseases among our people is driving virtually everyone to wellness centres. This is gladsome,” he said.

He enjoined employers to continually invest in the good health of their employees, which he said they will ultimately benefit from.

“This recreation center is an example of the balance which businesses must maintain between profit objectives and the welfare of their employees. It is penny wise, pound foolish not to invest in the healthy living of your employees and invariably allow them to fall into illnesses. The resultant effect is that the costs of their hospitalization and the man-hour losses incurred would far outweigh what you should have spent ab-initio,” Ajimobi said.

In his remarks, Mr. Keith Gretton, the Managing Director of the company, commended the government of Ajimobi for its being a good host to BATN.

“We want to appreciate your government for supporting us in our pragmatic search for pragmatic solutions to the challenges confronting our business,” he said.

The governor was thereafter conducted round the premises of the company for an on-the-spot assessment of the BATN operations.

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