Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, has called on oil companies under the umbrella of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), to improve on their funding of the agency.
Semenitari made the call when members of the NDDC/OPTS Working Level Committee paid her a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
She asked for a substantial compliance from the oil companies to enhance service delivery to the various communities in the oil and gas rich region.
The NDDC boss stressed the importance of partnership in achieving greater results.
Mrs. Semenitari said, “With partnerships, we are more impactful. When we agree on key issues affecting the communities where you operate, then you find that we will not dissipate energies.
“It helps us to pull resources together to deliver on projects that touch the lives of people in the communities.”
She said that it was the responsibility of the NDDC to deliver development to the communities, saying it was in the interest of both the Commission and the oil companies to develop the communities.
“That is why we would support the OPTS leaders to immediately re-activate the meeting of the Chief Executive Officers of the group to discuss issues that affect the region. We have to make the region functional for every stakeholder.
“In all the things we do this year, we will be looking at stronger partnerships in service delivery. That is why we will come back to OPTS to talk about critical projects. Now, we are concluding work on the Ogbia-Nembe Road. That road is supposed to extend to Brass.
“So, we must begin to talk about the Nembe-Brass Road early enough. For this project, we have to talk to several communities in one fell swoop. Again, it gives you the combined benefit of community social responsibility because you have something to show the communities to get their support. It will be easier because all of us will be pulling resources together,” she added.
The NDDC boss said that unlike the Ogbia-Nembe Road that was between the NDDC and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), the Nembe-Brass section would involve more stakeholders such as AGIP and the Bayelsa State Government.
“AGIP will have to come in because they have a lot more operations in that axis. We will also have meetings with the Bayelsa State government to make commitments even if they don’t put money on the table,” she said.
Mrs. Semenitari advised the oil companies to show more commitment in the effort to find greener ways of doing business, adding that oil companies were doing it in other parts of the world and should, therefore, not have different standards for Nigeria.
The Chairman of the NDDC/OPTS Working Level Committee, Mr. Ibitoye Abosede, said the partnership with OPTS was an effective way of building community capacity for sustainable development, adding that it connects with the grassroots for whom the NDDC was established.
Mr. Abosede, who is also the NDDC Director, Community and Rural Development, stated that in today’s world, the dynamics that shape relations between partners were informed by more complex issues than was traditionally the case.