As part of its contributions to alleviating the burdens of its host communities, especially at this period of COVID-19 lockdown, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC)/ND Western/OML 34 JV has donated food items worth over N25m to reduce hunger in 33 Delta communities.
This gesture which was also part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) to its host communities was to complement the joint efforts of both the federal and state governments at reducing the hardship that had come with the sacrifice of the lockdown order to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Addressing newsmen during the food items presentation at Otu-jeremi in Ughelli South Local Government Area, 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 our next-door neighbour by ensuring one shares from whatever little he has with those who do not have at all.”
According to him, “the food items donated included 350 bags of rice, 350 bags of garri and 350 bags of beans among others”, adding that they cost the company over N25m to procure the food items being donated.
He stated that “prior to this time both NPDC/ND Western/OML34 has made enormous contributions to Delta State Government in preparation for this COVID-19 pandemic. The whole idea was to help 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 foods that you are seeing here today. The food you are seeing today will go to about 33 communities that cut across three local government areas.
“We are using this community as our storage center because it’s central to our host host communities. We do all the distributions from here.
“The king of this community is magnanimous enough to give us this storage center. 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 life after the war.
“This pandemic is real. There are people who are symptomatic, they might come up with symptoms, but they might be able to spread it.
“There are people who may come up with symptoms, and we may identify them. This is the reason why government says 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 government’s advice and, I am sure it is in the best interest of everyone”.
Appraising the negative effect 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 had 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 neighbor 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 NPDC/ND Western/OML34 for the kind gesture assuring that the items will be equitably distributed among all the communities.