The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC)
and its joint venture partners have been urged to split the communities lumped
in the newly inaugurated Wakirike cluster to facilitate the sustainable
transformation of the area.
Making the request during the signing of the new Global
Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) for Wakirike cluster and the renewal of the
GMoU for Etche 1 and 2 clusters last Thursday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers
State capital, the Amanyanabo of Ogoloma, HRH A.T. Obubibo, said the splitting
of the cluster was necessary in order to achieve speedy development while
deepening the impact of the company’s social investment in the area.
Obubibo said that the Wakirike cluster was so large that the
impact of SPDC may not be felt by the ordinary grassroots dwellers if the 22
communities that constitute the present cluster are not split into, at least,
two development areas.
While lauding SPDC for remaining steadfast in efforts to
fashion a workable GMoU framework that would carry all stakeholders along and
bring meaningful development to Wakirike, Obubibo challenged the communities to
guarantee sustainable peace as a precursor to development and ensure mutual
respect and support for the company and governments at all levels.
Speaking, Manager, Government and Community Relations, SPDC,
Fufeyin Funkakpo, recalled the sterling achievements recorded by both Etche 1
and Etche 2 clusters during the pilot schemes in the last five years, which he
said, impacted positively on the people and transformed the development
landscape of Etche.
Fufeyin stated that as a partnership model which puts
resources directly into the hands of the people and lays emphasis on host
community participation in formulation and execution of development programmes
and projects, SPDC believes that a strategic synergy with the governments,
implementing non-governmental organisations and the communities would deliver
on set goals.
According to him, “SPDC remains committed to the sustainable
development of the Niger Delta…I believe that over time, NGOs and communities
will play bigger roles in the development of the Niger Delta, as the GMoU model
is fast gaining acceptance in government, oil industry and communities.”
“The communities, NGOs, SPDC and Rivers State Government
still have a lot of work to do to ensure that the GMoU is implemented
effectively and transparently,” Fufeyin noted, stressing that SPDC was
“committed to making the GMoUs work.”
He thanked the 22 communities in the new Wakirike cluster
for surmounting all obstacles and agreeing to partner the company for
development while also tasking the nine and 12 communities in Etche 1 and 2
clusters, respectively, to work more closely with SPDC to excel in the
transformation of their communities.
In his remarks, Rivers State Commissioner for Chieftaincy
and Community Affairs, Charles Okaye, reckoned that although Etche 1 and 2
clusters had delivered some projects to the people in the pilot five-year GMoU
scheme, but challenged all the 43 communities in Etche 1 and 2, and Wakirike
clusters to honestly and religiously work with all parties under the GMoU to
bequeath a transformational legacy for posterity.
Okaye noted his love for Wakirike people who never allowed
anyone to cheat them, and advised that while working to realise the vision
behind the letters of the GMoU, they must embrace peace, eschew violence and
exhaust all avenues of dialogue towards achieving sustainable development.
While saying that his ministry was open to address any
disputes arising from the implementation of the GMoU, the commissioner urged
both SPDC and the 43 communities to live up to their commitments in the GMoU
Also speaking, Onye-Ishi Agulu of Ozuzu, Eze Monday Amaechi,
regretted the lapses observed in the implementation of the pilot GMoU scheme in
Etche in spite of the huge successes recorded in the last five years, and hoped
that the renewed agreement would drive the speedy development of the area.
The Tide recalls that between 2007 and 2011, SPDC had
invested more than N5billion in 117 communities in 10 clusters under the GMoU
scheme for the implementation of various people-oriented development
initiatives directly selected and executed by the communities in Rivers State
The Tide gathered that out of about 60 clusters identified
in the Niger Delta, only around 27 are presently active in Rivers, Bayelsa, and
A’Ibom Widow Benefits From Gov’s Wife’s House Gift
Wife of Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mrs Martha Emmanuel, has given a two-bedroom furnished bungalow to a widow and mother of seven.
The house was built for the widow, Mrs Happiness Isaac, from Utu Ikot at Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of the State and her children whose former abode was in a bad state.
The Tide reports that Mrs Isaac and her children got the house gift, courtesy of Shelter of Hope Programme (FEYReP), a pet project of Mrs Emmanuel.
The governor’s wife said the gesture was part of activities marking the 6th anniversary of FEYReP
“It has been six years of a rewarding experience, touching lives positively across every facet of the state,’’ she said.
She added that with 58 houses so far delivered to indigent families, and many other life-saving opportunities for individuals, God’s grace had been sufficient all the six years.
Mrs Emmanuel noted that the housing scheme was initiated to provide comfortable abodes for the poorest of the poor in the state.
She stressed that the shelters were not limited to widows or widowers, but indigent families that had been independently verified by a team of FEYReP officials.
She thanked her husband, Gov. Udom Emmanuel, whom she described as the Pillar of FEYReP, for supporting her vision.
The governor’s wife also used the event to inform rural women of the on-going interest free loans by the FEYReP’s Multipurpose Cooperative Society, saying they should take advantage of the scheme to be economically independent.
She charged Mrs Isaac not to lose hope as God had not forgotten her.
Mrs Emmanuel further donated undisclosed amount of money and wrappers to 50 other women in the local government area.
In her remarks, Akwa Ibom PDP women leader, Mrs Joyce Lazarus, thanked the governor’s wife for her magnanimity and love for the needy across the 31 local government areas of the state.
She affirmed that Mrs Emmanuel’s lofty programmes through FEYReP had touched many lives in the state.
Also speaking, Sen. Akon Enyakenyi (PDP-Eket Senatorial District) also supported the event with cash.
In an emotion-laden response, Mrs Isaac recalled her ordeal in the past, especially after losing her husband many years ago.
She thanked Mrs Emmanuel for rescuing her from the shackles of death and poverty and prayed God Almighty to bless and reward her.
Bayelsa To Partner Media On Tourism Promotion
The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Bayelsa State, Mr Iti Orugbani, has pledged to partner with the media in the promotion of tourism.
The Commissioner stated this last Thursday when members of the Bayelsa Independent Publishers Association (BIPA) paid him a courtesy call in his office at the state Secretariat in Yenagoa, the state capital.
According to Orugbani, the media, especially the local publishers, have been at the vanguard of promoting culture and tourism in the state, using their different newspaper outfits.
He pledged the ministry’s continuous partnership with the newspaper publishers in the state, adding that he would support members of BIPA in any way possible to ensure they meet up modern day publishing technology.
The Commissioner, who was flanked by the Permanent Secretary, Directors and other management staff of the ministry expressed gladness for having members of a highly reputable profession in his office.
Earlier in his address, the chairman of the Bayelsa Independent Publishers Association, Mr Francis Dufugha, thanked the commissioner and his management team for giving the group a warm reception.
Mr Dufugha, who is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of the Niger Delta Herald Newspaper, recalled that BIPA was formed in the year 2000 to create an enabling ground for members to ply their trade.
He noted that BIPA had been in developmental partnership with the Bayelsa state government with members using their various newspapers to propagate government’s policies and programmes.
Noting the importance of the tourism subsector, the BIPA chairman said if properly harnessed, it would boost the revenue profile of the state, promising that the publishers would use their different outfits to highlight the tourism potential and cultural heritage of the state to the rest of the world.
The chairman also used the medium to inform the Commissioner of BIPA’s 20th anniversary celebration which will come up later in the year.
Also speaking, Publisher of the Environment Watch Newspaper, Mr. Braeyi Ekiye averred that there were many untapped tourism development potentials in the state such as the proposed Age Deep Seaport, the Okpoama Beach, Oloibiri Museum among others, noting that if harnessed, Bayelsa would become Nigeria’s foremost international tourists destination and home of hospitality.
By: Kevin Nengia
Edo Communities Protest Leasing Of Forest Reserve
Twenty-three communities of Orhionmwon, Edo State, have appealed to the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, not to implement the planned leasing of Urhonigbe Forest Reserve to a private investor, Saro Oil Palm.
They also asked the governor to lease somewhere else to the investor since the forest reserve is their only source of livelihood through subsistence farming.
The communities made their submissions to the state government during a peaceful protest in Benin City, noting that their forefathers donated the Urhonigbe forest reserve when other communities refused to make any land available for forest reserve.
Addressing journalists at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council, Monday, the spokesman of the protesting communities, Mr. G. O. Osadolor, said: “The Urhonigbe forest reserved is our only means of livelihood, where we do farming to sustain our family and children. Our children who are graduates but have no job are engaged in farming in the forest reserve.
“Many youths from Orhionmwon Local Government Area, who are not interested in criminal activities, engaged in farming in the forest reserve as there is no employment after graduating from school.”
Osadolor lamented that while the widows and widowers were farming in the Urhonigbe forest reserve for survival, Fulani herdsmen kill and pursue indigenes from one side of the land to the other; the people from Delta State also encroached into the forest reserve, adding that the only area left for the communities is the present forest reserve which government is planning to give to an oil palm investor.
He said that one part of the Urghonigbe forest had been handed over to Presco Oil Palm Plc while the little one left for them to farm is being taken from them by the state government to be given to another investor.
“We are begging Governor Godwin Obaseki to relocate Saro or any other oil palm investor to another local government that has virgin land. Orhionmwon do not have such land. The governor should not keep us in hunger and starvation.
Osadolor also drew government’s attention to the deplorable state of roads in Orhionmwon, the lack of electricity at the council headquarters in Abudu, the moving of the NYSC Orientation camp from Abudu to Okada, and the recent attempt to move the School of Forestry Management, Sokponba village in Orhionmwon to Fugar, Etsako Central Local Government Area of the state.
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