[Nigeria] Shell spends N21b on community development in Bayelsa
Communities in Bayelsa State received a total sum of N21.71 billion from the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) Ltd operated joint venture for development projects between 2006 and 2017, the highest such investment so far by SPDC and her partners in the Niger Delta.
The payments represent the total funds disbursed to the 14 Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) clusters in the state since the inception of this mode of community development in 2006.
“If you subtract this amount out of the N41.10 billion invested in the 37 active GMoU clusters in the Niger Delta, it shows that the Bayelsa State remittances represent more than half of the total sum spent on GMoUs in the region,” said SPDC General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli, while presenting the 2018 Shell Nigeria Briefing Notes to journalists in Yenagoa. “Part of the reason for the record expenditure is the number of project GMoUs which we implemented, for example Gbaran – Ubie integrated oil and gas development. We also have a shallow offshore production in Bayelsa State, EA, which alone has four GMoU clusters. We’re pleased at the contributions of the various GMoU clusters to the development of Bayelsa State.”
GMoU clusters in Bayelsa State have blazed the trail in community development, operating transport schemes, providing skills training and building amenities and infrastructure. For example, the Kou Cluster trained over 40 fisher men and women in modern fishing methods and gave them boats, outboard engines and fishing gears. Another cluster, Iduwini Development Foundation, sponsored several students to the United States.
In another novel social investment in Balyesa State, the Shell Group is implementing the Oloibiri Health Programme (OHP), to strengthen health care in Ogbia Local Government Area, as part of projects to mark Nigeria’s centenary anniversary. The OHP has delivered household health services for more than 8,300 persons in 2,814 homes. The Kolo General Hospital - the referral hub for the local government areas - has been strengthened and upgraded to serve the delivery model with five health-for-life centres (which includes Oloibiri) and 15 ward health centres.
Also, Shell’s flagship youth enterprise development programme, LiveWIRE has reached 600 persons in Bayelsa State since it was launched in Nigeria in 2003. The beneficiaries have been given entrepreneurial training and start-up grants to help them commence businesses that are also employing people. On education, in addition to the regular SPDC scholarship which began in the 1950s, some 160 students from Bayelsa State benefitted from the cradle-to-career programme which gives fully-funded sponsorship to top secondary schools in Nigeria.
Young graduates from Bayelsa State have also continued to enjoy awards under the Niger Delta Post Graduate Scholarship Programme which was established in 2010 to grow the Nigerian talent pipeline for the oil and gas industry through scholarships at three UK universities, Imperial College London, University College London and University of Leeds.
Mr. Weli said: “Our support for development in the Niger Delta is more than a business strategy. It is a demonstration of our commitment to the wellbeing of our hosts. That commitment remains unshaken, but it cannot prosper in an atmosphere of rancour, violence and endless acrimony. So, when communities maintain peace and law and order, they are in effect promoting their own development.”