Communities in Bayelsa State received a total of N21.71 billion from the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) Ltd. for development projects between 2006 and 2017.
Igo Weli, SPDC General Manager External Relations, said the amount was the total funds disbursed to 14 Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) clusters since the community development initiative commenced in 2006.
Mr Weli, while presenting the ‘2018 Shell Nigeria Briefing Notes’ to journalists in Yenagoa, the state capital on Thursday, said the amount was the highest so far spent in the Niger Delta region.
“If you subtract this amount from the N41.10 billion invested in the 37 active GMoU clusters in the Niger Delta, it shows that Bayelsa remittances represent more than half of the total sum spent on GMoUs in the region.
“Part of the reason for the record expenditure is the number of projects we implemented through the GMoUs such as the Gbaran – Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas Development.
“We also have a shallow offshore production in Bayelsa which alone has four GMoU clusters.
“GMoU clusters in Bayelsa State have blazed the trail in community development, operating transport schemes, providing skills training, building amenities and infrastructure.
“We are pleased with the contributions of the various GMoU clusters to the development of Bayelsa State,” Mr Weli said.
He explained that the Kou Cluster, one of the clusters, trained over 40 fishermen and women in modern fishing methods and gave them boats, outboard engines and fishing gears.
He said Iduwini Development Foundation, another cluster, sponsored several students to the United States for tertiary education.
According to Mr Weli, SPDC was also implementing the Oloibiri Health Programme (OHP) to strengthen health care in Ogbia Local Government Area, as part of projects to mark Nigeria’s centenary anniversary.
“The OHP has delivered household health services for more than 8,300 persons in 2,814 homes.
“The Kolo General Hospital has been strengthened and upgraded to serve the delivery model with five health-for-life centres including Oloibiri and 15 ward health centres.
“Also, Shell’s flagship youth enterprise development programme, LiveWIRE has reached 600 persons in Bayelsa State since it was launched in Nigeria in 2003,” he said.
He said the beneficiaries were given entrepreneurial training and start-up grants to help them commence businesses that were also employing people.
On education, he said 160 students from Bayelsa benefitted from the cradle-to-career programme which gave fully-funded sponsorship to top secondary school students in Nigeria.
According to him, young graduates from Bayelsa State have also continued to enjoy awards under the Niger Delta Post Graduate Scholarship Programme.
He said the programme was established in 2010 to grow the Nigerian talent pipeline for the oil and gas industry through scholarships at three UK universities, namely the Imperial College London, University College London and University of Leeds.
“Our support for development in the Niger Delta is more than a business strategy. It is a demonstration of our commitment to the wellbeing of our hosts.
“That commitment remains unshaken, but it cannot prosper in an atmosphere of rancour, violence and endless acrimony. So, when communities maintain peace, law and order, they are in effect promoting their own development,” Mr Weli said.
The Chairman of Bayelsa Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists, John Angese, and other media representatives witnessed the presentations of the 2018 ‘Briefing Note’.
The ‘Briefing Note’ is an annual publication of the oil firms’ operational data and social responsibility projects in its operational areas.
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