Ben Dunno, Warri
As part of its contributions to alleviate the burdens of its host communities, especially at this period of the COVID-19 lockdown, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC/NDW OML 34 JV) has donated food items worth over N25 million to ameliorate hunger in 33 Delta communities.
This gesture, part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) to host communities, was to complement the joint efforts of both the federal and state governments in reducing the hardship that has accompanied the nationwide lockdown orders meant to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the country.
Addressing reporters during the food items presentation at Otujeremi in Ughelli South Local Government Area, yesterday, the Manager, Government, Community Relations and Security, NPDC/NDW OML34 JV, Mr Sheidu Aiguedo, said the gesture covers all communities in Udu, Ughelli North and South, in addition to four communities in Warri South council.
Aiguedo, who represented the Chief Operating Officer of the NPDC/NDW OML34 AMT, Chief Edirin Abamwa, said this was time to show love to one another, noting that the love can be expressed at all levels, starting with one’s next-door neighbour by ensuring that one shares from the little one has with those who have nothing at all.
According to him, “the food items donated included 350 bags of rice, 350 bags of Garri and 350 bags of beans amongst others,” adding that it cost the company over N25 million to procure these food items being donated.
He stated that: “Prior to this time both NPDC and ND Western have made enormous contributions to Delta State Government in preparation for this COVID-19 pandemic. The whole idea was to help the government in case of any possible outbreak in the state.
“As it is today, the state has recorded four cases and the good thing is that the government has a reasonable level of preparedness courtesy of our own contributions.”
“We thought it wise to donate these food items to the communities because of the lockdown and also because government needs some level of support to help alleviate the suffering that the people may go through as they are obeying government instructions in order to curb the spread of this pandemic in the state.
“By this laudable gesture, what we are doing is to ensure that we reach the people with all these food that you are seeing here today. The food you are seeing today will go to about 33 communities that cuts across three local government areas.
“We are using this community as our storage centre because it’s central to our host communities. We do all the distributions from here.
“The king of this community is magnanimous enough to give us this storage centre. As you can see there are President Generals of other host communities waiting outside to receive their share.
“My advice to Nigeria is that they should see this situation as a war situation where the first thing for you to do is to take cover and see how you can protect yourself, your family and the community. First, you need to protect yourself so that you can live long enough to see the life after the war.
“This pandemic is real. There are people who are symptomatic, they might come up with symptoms and they are able to spread it.
“There are people who might not come down with the symptoms but could spread it. They are asymptomatic. This is the reason why government say we should stay at home.
“This might afford the opportunity to achieve contact tracing and reach out to them to test them and treat them.
“My advice to people is that definitely it might come up with some inconveniences, but we need to stay alive. And the best way to stay alive is to heed to governments advice and I am sure it is in the best interest of everyone.”
Appraising the negative effects of the lockdown globally, Aiguedo stated that “COVID-19 is costing the entire world so much but the first thing is safety first in order to stay alive.”
He noted that “oil prices have gone down tremendously. A barrel of oil is less than 20 dollars per barrel and that is a significant drop. This is not what any company has planned for, but in everything they are thinking of safety first. Whatever we are doing now, we are not even thinking of profit but safety first.
“What we are doing now is not profit-driven, but we need to show a good sense of neighbourliness and that is behind what we are doing today. So, we advised the people to show love. If you have a bag of rice and your neighbour does not have, share with your neighbour.
“So, as a company, as part of our social corporate responsibility, that is what we are doing. We are showing love at the Federal, State, Local and community level.”
Receiving the items on behalf of the communities, the monarch of Ughievwen Kingdom, HRM Matthew Ediri Egbi, the Owhawha 11, commended the NPDC for the kind gesture assuring that the items will be equitably distributed among all the communities.