Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), has refuted alleged abandonment of Ugborodo community in its Escravos operations saying it is fully committed to the provision of social amenities, employment and contracts to host communities.
The company said it has a long-standing relationship with the Ugborodo community which dates back to years before the establishment of its new community-driven participatory partnership model for community development known as the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).
The needs in many communities, including Ugborodo community, are many and varied requiring the support and intervention of multiple stakeholders to address, Chevron said adding, ” We are aware of this and through our GMoU governance model, we have involved other stakeholders, including the Niger Delta Development Commission, the State Government, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NNPC and some non-governmental organizations in the developmental efforts.However, the Ugborodo community has been embroiled in leadership tussles which have hindered development in the community.”
In addition to the provision of water and electricity to the Ugborodo community, the River Boat Clinic provides free medical services to several communities including Ugborodo community, it said.
Chevron also assured of continued support to socio-economic development in Ugborodo communities through local community contracts, employment and scholarships. “Annually, 100 secondary and tertiary scholarships are awarded to beneficiaries from Ugborodo community. “We have a reasonable number of Ugborodo community workers and contractors who have benefitted and have continued to benefit from the available employment and contract opportunities in the company,” says Esimaje Brikinn, the General Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs, CNL.
“Through the Escravos Gas To Liquid (EGTL) project, the company provided empowerment to several Local Community Contractors from Ugborodo and employment to many members of the community. Similarly, CNL’s contractors from Ugborodo community have provided and continue to provide employment for qualified persons from the community. As a responsive company, CNL has continued to engage our communities and work within available resources to equitably contribute to social development of communities near our areas of operations.
CNL has been working collaboratively with the communities around its areas of operation (including Ugborodo), and other stakeholders, through the GMoU to contribute to the improvement in the quality of life in the communities close to its oil and gas producing facilities. Through the GMoU, CNL continues to contribute funding to the Regional Development Committees (RDCs) that represent the communities in its area of operations to execute hundreds of projects in the communities through a governance model that ensures transparency and accountability. The projects which cover the areas of education, health, housing, scholarships, economic development, etc., have benefitted over 600,000 people and assisted in enhancing the quality of life in these communities” Brikinn said.
According to him, the Ugborodo community is a constituent member of the Itsekiri Regional Development Committee (IRDC), and between 2008 and now, the Itsekiri RDC has built over 60 houses, with over 390 beneficiaries.
The IRDC has alsoorganized a skills acquisition programme for 438 trainees, while it recently completed and commissioned 54 projects inherited from the past executives. We will continue to support the IRDC to boost their capacity to help sustain development in the area and exploit the resources and opportunities available to them for the benefit of the people.
As a company that has operated in Nigeria for over five decades, CNL is committed to building partnerships with the communities around its areas of operations based on mutual respect, trust, high level oftransparency and business ethics, he said The company further reiterated its commitment, within available resources and opportunities, to continue working with its community stakeholders and other partners to maintain peace and contribute to sustainable community and socio-economic development.