Owerri — Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Tuesday, sealed the deal to release a whopping N1 billion to 11 communities in Imo State, for the commencement of identified projects of immediate need.
This followed a series of successful discussions and negotiations with representatives of the communities on the best approach to demonstrate social corporate responsibility to touch the lives of the people in the areas, ahead of the proposed, Assa North Gas Development Project, spanning five years.
The communities are located in Avu, Umuapu, Obosima, Obiti, Ohoba, and Assah North, Ohaji South in Ohaji/Egbema.
The Guardian gathered that the Final Investment Decision (FID), culminating in the signing of Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), with the communities had been taken by Shell, which will lead to the communities identifying their priority need/project and execute with the funds.
To this effect, a 15-member of Cluster Development Board (CDB), for the development project were administered to an oath by the Director of Legal, Imo State Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mrs. Obiageri Amadi-Obi, in the presence of the Commissioner for Niger Delta Affairs, Jones Uzoka.
The General Manager, External Relations, SDPC, Mr. Igo Welli, represented by the Manager, External Relations, Land Area, Dr. Chibuzor Anyim, said the company is pleased with the development project and cooperation by the communities.
He said: "With this GMoU signed with the project clusters to the Assah North Gas Development Project, SPDC JV is committing N1.0 billion funding for community development over the next five years."
Welli said the GMoU is an award-winning approach embarked by the SPDC JV partners, comprising Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC), Total, and NAOC, since 2006 across their operational areas.
He explained that it involved: "A community-led sustainable development and interface management model that puts the communities in the driving seat in setting development priorities and implementation of programmes and projects to meet their needs."
Explaining the gains derivable from the planned gas project in the state, Welli noted: "The Assah North Gas Development Project is important to government's domestic gas aspiration to increase power generation and industrialisation as well as make significant contribution to GDP growth in Imo."
He urged the Cluster board to utilizs the opportunity to enhance the "much -desired socio -economic development of their people."
Speaking, the Group General Manager (GGM), National Petroleum and Investment and Management Services (NAPIMS), Rowland Ewubaru, represented by an official of the NNPC, Mrs. Tolu Adefuwa -Derin, urged the benefitting communities to use the opportunity to grow their economy.
In their contributions, Uzoka and Adekaya said the rare opportunity was carefully designed to grow the area and bring them to the path of development, as obtains in other areas of similar oil status, and urged them to take it serious.