The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited NNPCL/FIRST E&P OML83 & 85 Joint Venture, has inaugurated a Development Trust for its host communities in compliance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 mandate.
The Trust, named ‘KEFFESO Host Communities Development Trust’ (KHCDT), which was inaugurated in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State at the weekend, is a not-for-profit and non-political organization which will be governed by a constitution.
In support of its activities, the NNPCL/FIRST E&P JV will contribute 3 per cent of its actual operating expenditure in the upstream petroleum operations each preceding calendar year to a fund established by the Trust.
The KHCDT will cater to the socio-economic needs of 11 communities in Bayelsa state, including Koluama 1, Koluama 2, Ekeni, Fish Town, Foropa, Ezetu 1, Ezetu 2, Sangana, Opu Okumbiri, Okumbiribeleu and Oginibri.
The major highlight of the inauguration ceremony was the signing of oaths of allegiance as a trustee of the KEFFESO Host Communities’ Development Trust (KHCDT) by the trustees.
The oath was administered by the Chief Magistrate, Bayelsa State, Stanley Ekeru.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony, Executive Director, Corporate Services, FIRST E&P, Emmanuel Etomi, noted that the establishment of the Trust was done in full compliance with the requirements of chapter three of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which mandates the incorporation of a Host Communities Development Trust to aid the development of the socio-economic infrastructure of the communities within the petroleum mining lease.
Also, in adherence with the Act 2021, the scope of coverage for the joint venture’s social performance expanded from the initial eight host communities to include three new communities in Bayelsa State – Opu Okumbiri, Okumbiribeleu and Oginibri.
“Among other responsibilities, the KHCDT will implement the KEFFESO host communities’ development plan while efficiently and competently managing its assets and funds.
Key areas in which the trustees will serve range from undertaking infrastructural development, facilitating economic empowerment opportunities to advancing and propagating educational development and supporting healthcare development for the KEFFESO host communities”, Etomi said.
He declared that the nine members of the board of trustees of the KHCDT were chosen using strict criteria such as evidence of past commitment to the development of their communities and educational qualifications.
The Chief Executive of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, represented by the Field Coordinator, NUPRC, Bayelsa, Sylvester Bighoro, stated that the agency is delighted to be part of a historic occasion that would birth a new era of developmental projects and advancement of the host communities.
Komolafe charged the trustees to manage the affairs of the Trust in a way that would address the developmental needs of impacted host communities in the oil-producing areas and sustain the peace and harmony between the company and host communities.
The Chief Upstream Investment Officer, NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS), represented by the Manager, Stakeholder Relations, NUIMS, Julie Utang explained that the KHCDT, as established by the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring that the NNPC and FIRST E&P operations benefit the host communities in tangible and long-lasting ways.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner for Mineral Resources, Bayelsa State, Dr. Ebirei Jones, commended FIRST E& P for setting up a Trust to support the host communities.
Speaking on behalf of the trustees, HRH Chief Moses Theophilus expressed his profound appreciation to the company and the communities for their confidence in the trustees to deliver on their mandate for their 11 component communities.
It would be recalled that over the years, the NNPC/FIRST E&P JV has implemented various programs and projects to boost development in its host communities.
These programs have been implemented either directly as Social Investments or through a GMoU program led by the KEFFES Rural Development Foundation (KRDF) and have gone a long way towards addressing identified needs in these communities, especially around three thematic areas: – Health, Infrastructure, Education & Enterprise Development Empowerment.