Edo State governor, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, on Friday, November 20, received a team of SEPLAT executives who were on a tour of the host communities of the Oben Gas Plant facility sited at Oben Field situated in Edo State.
SEPLAT has deepened its business and investment in energy infrastructure in Oben Field with its construction some years ago with a massive state-of-the-art ultra-modern gas plant which today supplies gas to energy companies and industries across Nigeria. The Oben gas plant provides gas that facilitates the provision of over 35 per cent of electricity in the country.
According to Roger Brown, who recently assumed office as SEPLAT’s new Chief Executive Officer, “it was pertinent to pay courtesy visits to critical stakeholders who are our hosts in these areas where our significant gas, as well as oil assets, are located.” The SEPLAT team comprising the Chairman, Dr ABC Orjiako; Chief Executive Officer, Roger Brown and other executives began the tour with a courtesy call on the governor of Edo State, Obaseki and later, His Royal Majesty, Felix Mujakperuo, Orhue 1, the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom and His Royal Highness, Odoligie Frederick Ogiemwonyi, the Enogie of Oben Community.
At the courtesy visit on the governor, the SEPLAT CEO, congratulated Obaseki on his victory at the recent elections and for the successful inauguration for another four years in office.
He said that SEPLAT would continue to create value for the federal and state governments through the payment of royalty, taxes and levies; communities through robust corporate social investments, especially in capacity development, sustainable community infrastructure projects and economic empowerment programmes.
Brown reaffirmed that SEPLAT has continued to drive up its commitment to increasing the country’s energy security and boosting Nigeria’s gas to power initiative through deliberate significant investment in its gas business.
He added: “To date, Oben remains a major gas hub and the company has recently drilled additional new gas wells in Oben to increase further our production and our ability to meet growing demands”.
The SEPLAT Chief Executive elaborated the numerous benefits of the Oben Gas Plant to the immediate communities, the state and the country and harped on the different activities and programmes of the company in Edo State.
The few of them, he said, included the provision of medical equipment/items to the state government to support containment of COVID-19 pandemic and provision of palliatives to communities to cushion the effects of the lockdown arising from the pandemic.
Mr Brown added: “As a responsible corporate organization, we are committed to contributing to the development of Edo State, economically and otherwise. Since the commencement of operations in the state, the company has undertaken important health, education and numerous community development projects to support sustainable development in the state.
The SEPLAT boss told the governor that in addition to the yearly Seplat PEARLs Quiz programme for secondary schools which has boosted students’ academic performance in the state, the company has just introduced a new programme targeted at the teachers.
The new educational programme called SEPLAT Teachers Empowerment Programme (STEP), he disclosed, would debut in Benin last Tuesday.
The programme is aimed to systematically support and encourage embedding Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) in schools. The STEP programme will also develop the competencies of teachers to improve the quality of their teaching.
He revealed that the selected teachers will in six months, undergo a customized programme with a total of 100 teachers from Edo and Delta being the first beneficiaries, in the first instance.
The Edo State governor, in his remarks, welcomed the SEPLAT team and commended the company and its partner, NPDC for the significant investment made in the state.
He pledged the state government’s continual support of the company in its quest to drive development in Edo State while assuring of the state’s and communities’ continued collaboration with SEPLAT in providing the enabling environment for the company to operate.
Governor Obaseki expressed appreciation for the company’s social programmes, noting that the goals of educational initiatives of SEPLAT align with that of the state, which hinges on improving the standard of education.
“We are focused on education, retooling and resetting our educational system. Thank you for your quiz programme. Our children are now learning because we have retooled our educational system in Edo State. We would like to work with you on the teachers’ employment programme because as a state, we have experimented a lot in terms of teachers’ reforms. I just reviewed the progress we have made in the three-year teachers’ programme that we have just introduced in Edo State,” he stated.
The governor requested to partner with the company in the construction of roads in some parts of the state just as he charged the company to provide electricity to some immediate communities within its area of operations.
At the courtesy visit on the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom, HRM, Felix Mujakperuo, Seplat Chairman, Dr Orjiako, thanked the monarch for the cordial working relationship between the company and its host communities in Okpe Kingdom.
He also expressed appreciation for the support given to the company since inception regarding its operations, adding that the company is committed to the development of Okpe Kingdom.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Brown, expressed appreciation to the Orodje for the support given to the company for its operations while assuring that the company would remain committed to the infrastructural and capacity development of communities in the Okpe Kingdom.
The royal father, the Orodje of the Okpe Kingdom, who gladly received the SEPLAT team, commended the company for its commitment and support to host communities, stressing that the relationship must remain a win-win situation for the people and SEPLAT.
He urged the company to continue its good works while also enjoining the company to provide additional support in healthcare infrastructure, employment of graduates from the area and award of contracts to Okpe vendors.
Also at the palace of the Enogie of Oben, the Chief Executive Officer, commended Oben Field communities for providing the enabling peaceful environment for the company to operate.
He emphasized the importance of Oben to the company’s business and the nation with the colossal gas infrastructure in the community.
Mr Brown stressed that the company would sustain the cordial working relationship with the Oben Field communities and continues to execute sustainable community development projects and programmes to the benefit of the communities.
The Enogie and other Oben Field community leaders while expressing their appreciation of the SEPLAT visit and activities in their locality requested the company to employ its teeming youths; provide uninterrupted electricity and patronage of indigenous contractors from the communities.
Mr Brown in a brief response, pledged the company’s willingness to sustaining the cordial working relationship between it and the communities while reiterating the commitment to contributing to their socio-economic development through SEPLAT’s continued sustainable community development activities and programmes.
Other SEPLAT officials on the entourage included: two Non-Executive Independent Directors, Basil Omiyi and Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru; Emeka Onwuka, Chief Financial Officer; Dr. Chioma Nwachuku, General Manager, External Affairs and Communications; Folorunso Afolabi, General Manager, Western Assets 1; Okechukwu Mba, General Manager, Gas; amongst others.
Ultimately, there is no doubt that with this rapprochement between SEPLAT and its host communities, that the burden of providing electricity to a greater majority of Nigerians through gas would receive an unprecedented boost. Indeed, we expect it will be the beginning of a new dawn for the country.