The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, has called on oil companies under the umbrella of the Oil Producers Trade Section, OPTS, to improve on their contributions to the funding of the interventionist agency.
Mrs Semenitari made the call when members of the NDDC/OPTS Working Level Committee paid her a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt. She asked for a substantial compliance from the oil companies to enhance service delivery to the various communities.
The NDDC boss stressed the importance of partnership in achieving greater results. She stated: “With partnerships, we are more impactful. When we agree on key issues affecting the communities where you operate, then you find that we will not dissipate energies. It helps us to pull resources together to deliver on projects that touch the lives of people in the communities.”
Mrs. Semenitari said that it was the responsibility of the NDDC to deliver development to the communities, noting that it was in the interest of both the Commission and the oil companies to develop the communities. “That is why we would support the OPTS leaders to immediately re-activate the meeting of the Chief Executive Officers of the group to discuss issues that affect the region. We have to make the region functional for every stakeholder,” she said.
“In all the things we do this year, we will be looking at stronger partnerships in service delivery. That is why we will come back to OPTS to talk about critical projects. Now, we are concluding work on the Ogbia-Nembe Road. That road is supposed to extend to Brass. So, we must begin to talk about the Nembe-Brass Road early enough. For this project, we have to talk to several communities in one fell swoop. Again, it gives you the combined benefit of community social responsibility because you have something to show the communities to get their support. It will be easier because all of us will be pulling resources together.”
Mrs Semenitari said that unlike the Ogbia-Nembe Road that was between the NDDC and Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, the Nembe-Brass section would involve more stakeholders such as AGIP and the Bayelsa State Government. “AGIP will have to come in because they have a lot more operations in that axis. We will also have meetings with the Bayelsa State government to make commitments even if they don’t put money on the table,” she said.
“If we pull our resources together, it will be a win-win situation for all parties. That is why the meeting at the executive level is very critical because it will give us the opportunity to agree on how to drive the process. There are other important projects that can change the lives of people in the communities. We need to work out the strategies to deliver on these projects.”
According to Mrs Semenitari, the Ogoni clean-up exercise was one issue that required attention at this time and that she expected critical stakeholders to show greater responsibility towards the environment. She said it was encouraging that the IOCs and various governments were beginning to show understanding that a clean environment was important.
Mrs Semenitari advised the oil companies to show more commitment in the effort to find greener ways of doing business, adding that oil companies were doing it in other parts of the world and should, therefore, not have different standards for Nigeria.
The Chairman of the NDDC/OPTS Working Level Committee, Mr Ibitoye Abosede, said the partnership with OPTS was an effective way of building community capacity for sustainable development, adding that it connects with the grassroots for whom the NDDC was established.
Mr Abosede, who is also the NDDC Director, Community and Rural Development, stated that in today’s world, the dynamics that shape relations between partners were informed by more complex issues than was traditionally the case.
He said: “Without exception, the development strategies of agencies in today’s world must consider issues of partnerships, shared ideas, technology, synergies, energies, alliances, economic considerations, political stability and predictability of quality of leadership and best practices.”
The NDDC director explained that the objectives of OPTS included assisting in mobilising resources and creating a platform for a prosperous region, as well as embarking on joint inspection of projects executed by NDDC and the International Oil Companies, IOC’s.
He assured that the NDDC/OPTS framework would continue to advise on such activities that would reduce youth restiveness, vandalism and conflict in the Niger Delta Region. The Co-Chairman of the NDDC/OPTS Working Level Committee and a representative of oil companies, Mr Taribo Yellow, thanked the NDDC for its contributions to improving infrastructure for the communities in Nigeria’s oil-rich region. He stressed the need to regularise the executive level meeting of OPTS; it was the platform for mapping out policies. “We will be very glad if that meeting could be re-activated to enhance the synergy between the Commission and the oil companies,” he said.
Mr Yellow, a staff of Chevron, commended the NDDC for the various projects it had executed but said that the OPTS would be glad to be part of the commissioning of the projects so that the communities would also see the face of the other stakeholders.