Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) has inaugurated 84 development projects in Bayelsa State.
The projects, worth over N1.2 billion, are located at Ayamasa, Agbere, Isampou, Ofoni, Agbialama and Egbema in Ekeremo and Sagbama communities at its clusters in Tarakiri and Oporoma in Sagbama and Southern Ijaw local government areas.
SPDC General Manager Mr Igo Weli, who disclosed this in Yenagoa at the inaugurations of some of the competed projects, said the company invested N496.9 million to execute 24 projects in the Tarakiri clusters.
Weli, who was represented by Shell’s External Relations Manager, West Asset, Mr Evans Krukrubo, explained that Shell was prioritising development of its host communities using the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) template.
This, according to him, has enabled the SPDC to execute and develop N737.4 million worth of projects in its Oporoma clusters which is beneficial to the people of the host communities.
According to him, the projects cut across infrastructure, economic empowerment transportation intervention and scholarships.
“Where the environment supports our business and we run our operations without disruptions, SPDC is committed to increasing the Social Investment that we make to host communities and to Nigeria. A peaceful and enabling environment allows SPDC Joint Venture to put more funding to social investment that benefits all our people. SPDC has disbursed about N41.1 billion to the 37 active clusters from 2006 till date for community development under the GMoU template. The handover of these completed projects highlights the support SPDC gives to people in our areas of operation when there is a conducive environment for interaction and when we all take up the opportunities available to engage on matters that affect all of us. We encourage other communities to emulate the Oporomor GMoU Cluster and progressive schemes to develop our communities,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of Southern Ijaw clusters, the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon Monday Obolo, said the state government had concluded plans to establish an Oil Communities Development Commission to accelerate development of oil-bearing communities within the state.
Obolo, who disclosed that the executive bill sent to the Assembly by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson had passed first hearing and would receive expeditious passage, said the bill recommended that 13 percent Derivation Funds should be channeled to the development of oil communities to complement the social obligation gestures of oil firms operating in the state.
“The environment in our communities in Southern Ijaw has been so degraded and nothing is too much for the communities, and that is why the Dickson administration has taken steps to establish an Oil Producing Areas Commission to complement the GMoU,” he said.