The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) says out of the over N41billion disbursed for community projects in Niger Delta, about N15billion went to Rivers State under the Global Memorandum of Understanding.
“Between 2006 and end of 2017, a total of N14.86 billion has been invested by the SPDC Joint Venture in the GMoU clusters in Rivers State, giving communities a highly-valued opportunity to decide and implement projects and programmes that have a lasting impact on people’s lives,” said the General Manager, External Relations of SPDC, Igo Weli, on Saturday in Port Harcourt at the 2018 edition of the Nigerian Society of Engineers Port Harcourt Branch Week.
Weli, who spoke on the role of oil and gas sector in the infrastructure development of Rivers State, said the SPDC JV funding enabled 19 GMoU clusters in Rivers State to embark on projects covering health, education, water and power supply improvement, sanitation and infrastructure development. He added that the success of the GMoU initiative proved what could be achieved when government, international oil companies, communities and NGOs worked together for the common good.
Under the terms of the GMoU, SPDC JV provides secure five-year funding for communities to implement development projects of their choice, which are managed by Cluster Development Boards under the guidance of mentoring NGOs.
On social infrastructure, Weli listed the N1.5billion ultramodern library donated by Shell to the state government to commemorate Nigeria’s centenary celebration, and the establishment of a Community Health Insurance Scheme at Obio Cottage Hospital in Port Harcourt where the average number of patients increased from about 600 to about 7,500 per month in 2017, making it one of the most utilised health facilities in the area. He said 10 other hospitals in Rivers State also enjoyed ‘robust health intervention scheme by SPDC JV’.
In education, he cited the establishment of the first centre of excellence in Marine Engineering and Offshore Technology at Rivers State University in Port Harcourt in 2017, which has commenced programmes leading to the award of Master’s degrees in Marine Engineering (Power Plants), Naval Architecture and Offshore and Subsea Engineering. This, he said was in addition to the many SPDC JV scholarship schemes which date back to the 1950s.
On the statutory role of the oil and gas sector in infrastructure development in Niger Delta, Weli noted that each player in the sector was expected to contribute 3% of its annual budget to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the purpose of facilitating the rapid, even and sustainable development of the Niger Delta region into an area that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful. “Between inception of NDDC in 2002 and the end of 2017, Shell companies alone contributed N338.12billion to the commission,” he said.
He noted that the responsibility for the development of communities, societies or states resides primarily with government and community stakeholders themselves. “It stands to reason therefore that abdicating that responsibility for development to the private sector either fully or substantially is, in my assessment, one of the key issues militating against sustainable development not just of Rivers State but of the Niger Delta.”
He frowned on the expectationthat private sector should take on the role of government even after fulfilling their statutory obligations to the state and investing as much as their businesses can carry in social investments in the host communities. “This is not sustainable and perhaps accounts for the steady drop or reduction in investments, hence the dwindling opportunities in employment, contracts, and so on, in the Niger Delta in the past two decades.”
Weli added: “The region is no longer very attractive to investors because of the unrealistic demand and entitlement mindset. The future of the Niger Delta is in the hands of private investors, therefore stakeholders need to re-set their expectations and approach to achieve sustainable growth and development. Investors are to be wooed and investments, attracted, not taken for granted.”
He therefore appealed for a conducive operating environment to enable the private sector do business profitably without fear so that they could implement social investment projects and programmes.
He said: “For the private sector, including the oil and gas industry to support the state for infrastructure development, the state, as a matter of policy, and the people, as a matter of dogged commitment, must resolve to make the state peaceful, friendly, attractive and competitive.”
Media Relations Manager(SHELL)
We need to do more collectively for Africa at the Africa Business Health Forum – Halima Dangote
An interview with the Group Executive Director of Dangote Group by Jess Denny, correspondant for APO
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 12, 2019/ — Q: Your foundation has obviously got a lot of influence in Nigeria, what are your main objectives for this year?
A: One of the main pillars is health. Nutrition determines the state of one’s health and we are investing towards nutrition, specifically primary health care, and most importantly towards eradication of polio, that itself is a good example of what Public Private Partnerships should put on the top of their list. This year’s Dangote Foundation (www.Dangote.com/Foundation/) is partnering with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nigerian government. It is crucial for us to get buy in from each state government that we partner with; so Dangote Foundation, government and B&M Gates Foundation have equal responsibilities and we do really see the impact when we each are accountable. Through impact assessment in the rural areas, studying the root causes, we are able to determine where we want to see results and how to achieve progress. The formula is working and we will keep at it as there is a lot to cover.
Q: Healthcare and infant mortality obviously is a huge issue across the poorest countries in Africa. What could other corporates do to get more involved into helping, following your model?
A: The business sector is the most important in this model, and we put a strong emphasis to really pull the business sector, like the ones here at the Health Business Forum. This thing that we are pushing to get 1% of the tax dedicated to health; we need the support of other businesses do it as well? All of us corporate can just contribute and see this would ultimately help the health sector, and I mean, the way the foundation sees it, when investing in health, it should not be considered a cost, it is a huge investment in the future generations and it’s going to cost us a lot more if we don’t start now, a lot more.
Q: What are your proudest moments?
A: I am extremely proud of being able to make a difference in this world, that collectively we are changing and influencing people to keep aiming for a better lifestyle and to take better care of their health and well-being of their loved ones.
Q: If you had one single most important message from you personally to the world, what would it be?
A: I think, every single person has a role to play, and it is important to search deeper and find ways to contribute. Ultimately it can be very little, but you have to make an effort to participate. It’s not just about saying it. It is about being honest with yourself and having the courage to walk the talk. We all live on the same planet. Our communities within our cities play a strong role in the way we live with one another. Everybody has to participate! Everyone deserves to be healthy and happy!
APO Group – Africa Newsroom.
Sahara Group, Dorcas Foundation Unveil ‘How Pink Is Your Love’ Campaign
Lagos, Nigeria, February 11, 2019; Sahara Group and The Dorcas Cancer Foundation are joining forces to increase awareness of the cancer scourge in a bid to reinforce the role early detection plays in preventing avoidable morbidity and mortality from the disease which claimed the lives of 9.6 million people in 2018.
Statistics sourced from the World Cancer Day website indicate that at least a third of common cancers are preventable and up to 3.7 million lives could be saved each year through implementing appropriate strategies for prevention, early detection and treatment.
Tagged ‘How Pink Is Your Love’, the project will take advantage of the euphoria surrounding the 2019 Valentine’s Day celebration to shore up awareness and early detection campaigns through youth engagement talks in schools, health walks, media interactions and donations to select cancer based non-governmental organisations.
The campaign will be implemented across the energy conglomerate’s locations across Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Dr. Adedayo Joseph, Clinical Radiation Oncologist and Executive Director of The Dorcas Cancer Foundation will provide lead technical support for the campaign through her organisation which is widely regarded for its leading role in stamping out cancer.
“Last year, Sahara Group added more fillip to the issue of climate change on Valentine’s Day. Our ‘Greenest Love of All’ campaign was well-received and generated remarkable awareness and commitment to galvanizing action towards protecting our environment. This year, we are delighted to work with the reputable Dorcas Cancer Foundation to stem the tide of cancer, a deadly disease which can be tackled by awareness, early detection, accurate diagnosis, as well as prompt and proper treatment.” explained Bethel Obioma, Head of Corporate Communications at Sahara Group.
According to Obioma, cancer; which claims 17 lives every minute all over the world requires sustained global attention and collaboration to stem the tide of its adverse impact. “Our campaign is actually a passionate appeal to extract more commitment from everyone to spread the word about cancer, get checked, encourage others to get checked in order to increase the chances of saving more lives through early detection. There is also a high level of myths, misinformation and stigma that fuels the spread of the disease. So, at Sahara Group, we are asking, how pink is your love this valentine, as we take the fight to cancer.”
Speaking on the partnership with Sahara Group, Dr. Joseph said, “Not too long from now, every person living will know someone affected by cancer. We owe it to ourselves, and to the people we love to get involved. This fight cannot be left for the oncologists, the doctors, healthcare professionals and non-profits. Every individual has a duty and an obligation to society, to do their part for cancer control.”
According to her, The Dorcas Cancer Foundation has backed cancer research; published and distributed free of charge, a first of its kind childhood cancer handbook in West Africa, funded diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for several children; partnered with community leaders and influencers to raise awareness; and trained hundreds of health care professionals on early detection and referral paths. “But it is all only a drop in the bucket until everyone gets involved.” I have devoted my career to changing the cancer narrative in Africa, and I invite every individual, every organisation; to join in their own way. “This season, as everyone celebrates love and relationships, I believe we need to take a moment to think about those for whom life seems to be hanging in the balance; those whose priorities are vastly re-arranged by the diagnosis they face. Take a moment to show love to someone who desperately needs it,” she added.
Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Manager, Sahara Foundation said the organization remains resolute in its commitment to partnering with various stakeholders to “take cancer down”. He said the total annual economic cost of cancer which is estimated at 1.16 trillion dollars makes it imperative for various stakeholders across the globe to support sustainable awareness and prevention projects.
“At Sahara, we have over the years supported several cancer programmes to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with the disease. Some of our cancer interventions include donation towards the acquisition of a Mobile Cancer Center by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy; sponsorship of prostate cancer surgeries in Lagos; cancer screening and awareness programmes for staff members and cancer screening for over 5000 rural women across Nigeria. The Sahara Group subsidiary in Geneva recently partnered with English Speaking Cancer Association (ESCA) alongside other organizations to carry out awareness programme themed Paddle for cancer dragon boat festival.”
“The war to defeat cancer should be concerted requiring the efforts of individuals, corporations and government. Sahara Group is excited to draw attention to the cancer menace as the world celebrates the concept of love. We believe the greatest form of love this valentine is to raise awareness and do everything possible to enhance the cause of early detection by promoting voluntary and sponsored medical intervention,” he added.
– Sahara Group
Dangote feeds 30,000 IDPs in Zamfara
The farmers-herders clash and sporadic attacks by cattle rustlers have displaced thousands, many of whom are currently seeking refuge at Maradun Local Government Area of the State
LAGOS, Nigeria, January 22, 2019/ — In yet another massive intervention, the Aliko Dangote Foundation Monday officially launched a major philanthropic programme in Zamfara State, doling out food items running into several millions of naira to support victims of insurgency.
The farmers-herders clash and sporadic attacks by cattle rustlers have displaced thousands, many of whom are currently seeking refuge at Maradun Local Government Area of the State.
According to official reports over 3,000 people have been killed, about 100,000 displaced, of which about 30,000 are in Maradun LG, and over 500 people kidnapped.
Group Executive Director Government Relations and Strategic Relations Mansur Ahmed who presented the food items on behalf of the Group President Aliko Dangote said the Foundation was supporting the government and traditional leaders in meeting the needs of the IDPs.
Only recently Mr. Dangote was rated world’s 6th largest donors, and Africa’s richest person for almost a decade. His Aliko Dangote Foundation has been endowed with a staggering $1.25billion. He was also listed by Forbes Magazine among the 75 people that make the world turn.
Dangote Foundation had also injected over N7billion to create soccour in North East in the wake of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Mr. Ahmed, an Engineer, said Mr. Dangote was very disturbed about the plight of the displaced persons and quickly directed that everything possible be done to provide succor.
Mr. Ahmed said the company was building a 2000 ton capacity of rice mill in Maradun and that when completed this year it would create hundreds of job opportunities for the people of Zamfara State.
Responding, the Emir of Maradun Muhammad Garba Tambari said he was highly elated as the company is the first to intervene by providing food support for displaced persons.
He commended Mr Dangote for the gesture and promise to help secure his investment in his Emirate.
Chairman of the Maradun Local Government Alhaji Yahayah Shehu Maradun thanked the Dangote Foundation for the gesture and pray God to continue to bless the Dangote business.
Our reporter sighted trucks of food items being offloaded at the silos and at the official presentation of the relief material at the Palace of the Emir of Maradun.
Some of the items delivered include: Trucks of Semolina, sphagetti, sugar, wheatmeal and Macroni.
Victims at the IDP camp who recounted their ordeal described the crisis as the worst in the country in the past five years.
They regretted that state have been neglected by government and mainstream media.
Mrs Inno Usman, 50, from Mallamai District lost a husband to the crisis and has eight children at the IDP camp. She said five men including her husband were killed by the marauders.
Mrs Usman described the intervention of Dangote as timely, while urging other donors to emulate the the Aliko Dangote Foundation.
Another victim, Mrs Kenan Usman said her husband was also killed in a gruesome manner and that she escaped with her five children by the whiskers.
She said before the coming of Dangote Foundation they have been accommodated at the IDP camp in Maradun since November 2018, regretting that there is no date foe their return as the insurgents still hold sway in their various villages.
For Inno Aliyu Sani, 60, 21 people were killed including four women, and cows running into hundreds were stolen by the rustlers.
“We can’t go back. The killers are still there,” she said.
Abubakar Garba from Rudun village said for the past five years marauders had sacked everyone in the village but that government was doing anything address the situation until now.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Aliko Dangote Foundation.
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