Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: NNPC, Chevron JV Commits N53m on Capacity Building

Abuja — As part of its corporate social responsibility to communities within its area of operations, Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture, has said that about N53 million was committed to the development of poverty alleviation initiatives in eight communities in Bayelsa State through its human capacity building and micro credit schemes.

According to the general manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Femi Odumabo, the two programmes were part of the Joint Venture initiatives aimed at empowering the people under its new community engagement concept known as the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).

According to him, about N33 million naira is being expended on a 15-month training of 80 indigenes of the area, while N20 million was applied to the micro-credit schemes in the communities. The projects are executed under the Keffes Regional Development Council (RDC), one of the two community-managed councils facilitated by Chevron for development purposes in Bayelsa State.

The areas comprise Sangana, Fishtown, Koluama 1 and Koluama 2 communities. Others are Foropa, Ekeni, Ezetu1 and Ezetu 2. Odumabo added that the 15-month skills acquisition programme was designed to equip participants with skills to generate gainful self- employment or secure employment with established firms. It is being facilitated on behalf of the Keffes RDC by the Federal College of Education, Omoku, in association with Tumu School of Professional Engineering, Yenagoa. Each participant receives a monthly allowance throughout the duration of the programme. At the end of the programme, the college in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity would conduct Trade Test examination on the participants and award them certificates accordingly.

He, however, noted that the first three-months constitute the induction phase. This, to him, exposes participants to general knowledge of all the skills in the vocational fields available under the scheme, while the final 12 months of the programme is devoted to specialised training in the trainees areas of choice. Such areas include Safety, Welding/Pipelines Construction, Instrumentation, Fashion Design / Fine and Applied Art.

Other areas of interests are Computer Hardware Maintenance, Automobile (including Plant), Electrical Installation and general subjects like Elementary Science, Mathematics, Technical Drawing, Use of English and Business Management.

NNPC/Chevron JV has continued to strengthen the eight regional development councils created under the GMoU to achieve the objectives of addressing unemployment, building community capacity and ownership through higher impact and sustainable community development projects.

The Keffes RDC chairman, Pastor Joe Ebiware, commended Chevron for supporting the skills acquisition and micro-credit schemes, noting that the council was committed to the full execution of the programmes because of their immense benefits to the communities.

Meanwhile, the joint venture recently expanded its annual National University Scholarship Awards with the introduction of a special scholarship scheme for the visually challenged undergraduates.

Three hundred and twenty eight students studying in various Nigerian universities bagged the 2007 scholarships amongst who are eleven beneficiaries of the maiden special scholarship for the visually challenged. The awards, which are based on merit, cover professional courses in the Sciences, Engineering and Humanities.

Odumabo, in a statement said the new scholarship scheme is targeted at the visually challenged indigenes from Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Ondo and Imo States to enhance their access to education. It is the first of its kind in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

The National University Scholarship Award opens to undergraduates in all states of the federation including Abuja, is one of the programmes being implemented by the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture as part of its commitment to promoting the development of qualitative education and human capital building in Nigeria.

The company also runs a Community Scholarship Scheme exclusively for stakeholders in its areas of operation as part of its corporate social responsibility.

"Currently, over 1,300 students are benefiting from both the NNPC/Chevron University and Community Scholarships Awards, for which the company spends about N350 million every year. Between the five-year period of 2001 and 2006 alone, NNPC/Chevron has successfully sponsored over 5,000 awardees through university education," he stated.

Chevron also provides educational infrastructure such as classrooms, laboratories, libraries, computers and sports facilities and sponsors relevant programmes and competitions that stimulate interest in the Arts, Humanities, Science and Technology.

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