The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) Joint Venture (JV), has unveiled three Host Communities Development Trusts (HCDTs) in Delta in line with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
The three Host Communities Development Trusts in Delta are: Ogulagha, Iduwini and Iwereland, comprising about 16 coastal communities in the state.
Mr Osagie Okunbor, the Managing Director of SPDC Nigeria Ltd. and Chairman, Shell Companies in Nigeria stated this while unveiling the projects on Thursday in Warri.
He assured that the multinational companies operating in the area would remain faithful to their responsibilities under the PIA.
Represented by Dr Alice Ajeh, Project Manager, Host Communities of SPDC, Okunbor said similar projects have been carried out in Rivers and Bayelsa, adding that Imo would be the next State to benefit from the initiative.
Okunbor said that SPDC remained committed to meeting its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) through the established Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).
He said the GMoU was introduced in 2006 and the company had disbursed more than 106.3 million dollars in the Niger Delta.
“This unveiling means that the PIA is making progress in the Niger Delta, with SPDC supported by her partners.
“We have invested in infrastructure, health, education, economic empowerment and human capacity development and with the PIA, a new era has come.
“The legislation establishes Trusts as the main platform for development of host communities.
“This incorporation provides legal backing to attract resources and channel them to the development of the communities,” he said.
The managing director urged the various Trusts to appoint Management Committees in collaboration with their communities in line with the provisions of the PIA.
“Funding of the Trusts will be derived from operations of the company, community disruptions and vandalism will inevitably lead to fewer cash and by implication less projects and programmes,” he said.
Okunbor urged the people to create a conductive environment in order to benefit fully from the new dispensation, adding that arrangement had been provided for amicable resolution of grievances with the oil companies.
In a remark, Mr Igo Weli, General Manager, Corporate Relations, Shell Companies in Nigeria said that the incorporation of additional Trusts in the state was in progress.
Weli was represented by Mr Ucheong Amechi, Corporate Relations Manager, West – SPDC.
He assured that the unveiling of Community Trusts and implementation of the PIA, would help promote peace and development in the Niger Delta.
He, however, said that the PIA would remain a mere document if the communities failed to take practical steps to implement the provisions.
“This will mean taking ownership of the process as the legislation allows, resolving disputes through dialogue and having continuous and productive engagements with oil companies and other stakeholders,” he said.
Mr Bala Wunti, Chief Upstream Investment Officer, NNPCL Investment Management Services (NUIMS) urged the Trusts to operate with utmost transparency and accountability in the utilisation of funds allocated to it.
Wunti who was represented by Dr Joy Eguavoen, Senior Adviser, Community Relations of NUIMS, advised the Trusts to demonstrate efficiency and expertise in executing projects.
“Using means that amplify standard and quality and ensuring that the allocated funds are used for impactful initiatives to address the identified needs of the communities,” he said.
In his remark, Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta said, the unveiling marked a significant milestone in the journey of cooperation, partnership and sustainable development between SPDC and the host communities.
The governor was represented by Mr Frank Omoko, Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Oil and Gas.
Members of the Board of Trustees (BoTs) of the Trusts included, Mr Alli Omagbitse (Iwereland), Mr Anorise Macdonald (Ogulaha) and Mr Benikurukuru Ibamugha (Iduwini).
In attendance were representatives of communities, oil and gas industry and officials of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).