The MOU, Total says, is aimed at uplifting the quality of life in the communities hosting the company’s operations.
Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with its host communities in the Niger Delta as part of efforts to improve the living standard of the people.
The communities are in Etche, Ikwerre and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas in Rivers State, and Owaza Community in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State.
The Executive General Manager, JVA Onshore, Jean-Claude Vachet, who signed on behalf of Total, said the MOU is aimed at uplifting the quality of life in the communities hosting the company’s operations.
According to Mr. Vachet, the draft agreement has the potential to add value to the lives of the communities, pointing out that its implementation and management require sincerity from both parties.
He said the concept of the budget-envelope provision in the agreement showed the company’s commitment to assisting the communities in their quest for infrastructural development.
Mr. Vachet, who said implementation committees are soon to be constituted, challenged the would be members to ensure that basic principles of sustainability and accountability were integrated into any infrastructural development project the communities requested for.
He enjoined the communities to ensure that only credible representatives are nominated into the implementation committees as anything contrary may defeat the purpose for which they are to serve.
“As we sign this agreement, let us do so with a renewed spirit and conviction to implement the provisions for the benefit of the people.
With the size of the communities’ negotiated budget-envelope, I am sure you will prudently apply it to projects that will cater for the needs of the greater majority of your people,” he said.
Mr. Vachet said that the company on its part would ensure prompt release of funds for timely execution and delivery of the projects.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Charles Okaye, said that both parties should show sincerity in the execution of the projects.
Mr. Okaye, who was represented by the ministry’s Director of Community Affairs, Edward Teneilabe, said that the projects would benefit the host communities and the state if properly executed.
He urged the host communities to cooperate with the company to achieve the set goal.
Chief Rowland Woko, the Paramount Ruler of Eneka Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, said the projects would create employment and also bring development to the communities.
Mr. Woko urged the committees not to enrich their ‘’pockets’’ with the project funds, but to use every project to develop their communities.
The Deputy Chairman of Ukwa-West Local Government Area in Abia, Okey Kanu, said that the MOU would enhance the lives of host communities and reduce poverty, pointing out that there were potentials for the employment of over 1,000 youth, which is one answer to the question of youth restiveness within the host communities.
Mr. Kanu urged the communities to maintain peace to ensure a cordial working environment for the contractors.