Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri has pledged his administration’s resolve to cement the existing cordial relationship with corporate organisations to foster peace, stability and sustainable development.
Governor Diri made the pledge in Yenagoa on Monday during the courtesy visit to Government House of the Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, who was represented by the External Relations Manager, Shell Nigeria, Mr Igo Weli.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted Diri as having expressed gratitude to Shell for sustaining the long-standing relationship with the state that has blossomed over the years.
Governor Diri, who described SPDC and its joint venture partners as strategic partners in the development and progress of the Niger Delta states, stressed the need to continually nurture the relationship to improve the living conditions of the people.
‘The essence of government is the security of lives and this includes safeguarding the health of the people to whom it is accountable. As a new government, this kind of relationship should blossom,’ the governor is quoted as saying.
‘The history of Bayelsa cannot be complete without mentioning Shell in and around the state. It was in Bayelsa that Shell first struck oil in commercial quantity at Oloibiri. So, the history and story about Shell in Nigeria is tied to Bayelsa.
‘Crude oil has been the mainstay of our economy, which has immensely profited multinational oil companies, but Bayelsa has not been fairly treated.
‘Our government is, however, prepared to work closely with all corporate bodies that are committed to the welfare and development of our people.’
The governor lauded the SPDC for identifying with the state government’s untiring efforts in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his remarks, Mr Igo Weli said Governor Diri has shown leadership since he assumed office, commending him for the proactive steps taken in the fight against COVID-19 in the state.
‘Your Excellency, thank you for being proactive in the fight against COVID-19. You are doing a lot to keep Bayelsa people safe.
‘You have shown leadership and that is why we are here as partners in progress to support you with a donation of the medical and other protective equipment for use in the state,’ he said.
Mr Weli highlighted a number of medical equipment targeted at enhancing the testing for COVID-19 in the state. They include a compatible PCR machine, extraction kits for 1,000 tests, intensive care unit ambulance, 16 KVA electricity generator, suction machines, infrared thermometers and other critical equipment to operationalise the state’s isolation centre.
Others are 10 critical care hospital beds and mattresses, respiratory nebulisers, hospital-grade oxygen cylinders, face masks and hand sanitizers.
According to him, the Shell companies in Nigeria, comprising SPDC, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company and Shell Nigeria Gas, are making direct interventions to enhance medical capacities and capabilities across locations where they have operations as part of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) led $30 million oil and gas industry support to the Federal Government to contain the spread of the pandemic.