Communities, government celebrate GMoU with Chevron
GOVERNMENT and community stakeholders involved in a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) with Chevron Nigeria Limited have celebrated the successes recorded so far in the implementation of the agreement.
The celebration took place at a GMoU Fair and Exhibition programme organised by NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture at Transcorp Hotel, Abuja. The stakeholders are five Niger Delta states of Rivers, Delta, Imo, Ondo, Bayelsa and communities close to Chevron Nigeria Limited’s operations represented by community-based development organisations known as Regional Development Committees (RDCs).
According to the stakeholders, the GMoU model with Chevron has led to significant development of communities close to the operation of the oil company.
Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and his Imo State counterpart, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who spoke at the fair, lauded the GMoU, which involves NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture, communities close to Chevron Nigeria Limited’s operations represented by community based development organisations known as Regional Development Committees (RDCs) or Foundation (RDFs) and the government.
In a keynote address, Uduaghan expressed delight, saying the results achieved by the GMoU so far have surpassed the state government’s imagination. His words: “The GMoU involving us, NNPC/Chevron and our communities have succeeded beyond our imagination. The GMoU model has gone a long way to achieving its objectives. The era of accountability and transparency it has brought to the administration of community resources is worthy of note because it has eliminated the allegations that some community leaders embezzle fund meant for community development.”
While noting that the GMoU model has reduced disunity and disharmony among community leaders, Uduaghan, who was apparently making reference to the controversy surrounding the six million dollars provided by Chevron for the development of the New Ugborodo, averred that “no money can miss from GMoU”.
On the theme of the GMoU “Fair: Enhancing Sustainable Community Driven Development Through Partnership, Transparency and Accountability”, he said it was apt, particularly as it would afford all stakeholders, including the state governments, the necessary platform to evaluate the contributions of the RDCs through the GMoU implementation to the development of the of the communities as well as share best practice with others.
Uduaghan pledged the state government’s readiness to partner with all stakeholders of the GMoU model to arresting the scourge of oil theft, just as he enjoined Chevron to explore the option of domiciling pipeline surveillance contracts to contractors within the communities so as to ensure effective protection of the pipeline facilities and collective responsibility on the part of the communities.
Okorocha, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Petroleum Resources, Prof. Okee Okoro, stated that Chevron has done so well for the oil-producing communities under its areas of operation. He enjoined government and other development agencies to replicate the development strides of the RDCs.
In an address, Chairman and Managing Director of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), Mr. Andrew Fawthrop, posited that without the support of the state governors in its areas of operation and the Federal Government, the GMoU programme would not succeed.
His words: “It is also important to recognise the support of the governors of the states where the GMoU is meeting the development needs of the communities. Without the support of the state governors, the GMoU programme would not succeed. His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan, has also been very supportive of the GMoU. We believe his support is a testament to the high value he places on community development in Nigeria.
Mr. Fawthrop explained that the GMoU is a tripartite participatory partnership, which empowers the communities to identify and determine their developmental needs using funds provided by CNL while the government ensures that the governance and control measures, which guarantee that approved projects are executed with financial transparency and accountability, are strictly followed. He said community development organisations that signed the agreement with NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture are Keffes RDF, Dodo River RDC in Bayelsa State, Idama RDC, Kula RDC in Rivers State, Ilaje, Ondo State, Jisike RDF, Imo State and Itsekiri RDC and Egbema Gbaramatu Central Development Foundation (EGCDF) in Delta State.
Dr. Ikeh Tolar, the pioneer chairman of Egbema Gbaramatu Central Development Foundation, said the implementation of the GMoU has translated to improved understanding between the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture and the communities.” The GMOU process has helped to build a bridge of understanding, trust and commitment to improving the quality of life of the people while also creating an enabling operating environment for Chevron to operate”, Dr. Tolar stated.
The former chairman of Ilaje RDC, Prince Philemon Ebiesuwa, in his comments, said the GMoU has brought some positive impacts in the development of oil-producing communities with regards to contract awards to community members. “There are high quality infrastructural projects that can be seen … all these have helped to stem violent agitations in the communities”, he added.
Dr. Urohbo of Morgan Smart, a non-governmental organisation, also applauded the GMoU, saying the model has significantly raised the capacity of community people thereby enabling them to drive their development needs and execute complex business transactions.
The RDCs and foundation are Egbema-Gbaramatu Central Development Foundation (Delta State); Itsekiri Regional Development Committee (Delta State); Ilaje Regional Development Foundation; Dodo River Regional Development Committee (Bayelsa State); Keffes Regional Development Committee (Bayelsa State); Kula Regional Development Foundation (Rivers State); Idama Regional Development Foundation (Rivers State) and Jisike Regional Development Foundation (Imo State).