WARRI-Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, has tasked oil companies and oil-bearing communities to respectively meet up their corporate social responsibility and protect oil facilities in their domain, to enhance revenue for development of the state and nation.
Otuaro also assured of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s development focus for oil communities as the Comrade Jude Ukori-led Egbema Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation (EGCDF), accompanied by officials of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), called on him, Monday, to seek developmental intervention from the State Government.
Ukori said oil communities of Egbema and Gbaramatu Kingdoms deserved developmental projects from a state government it contributes huge oil revenues to, more so from Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to whom they rendered massive votes and were active partners in halting the worrisome oil facility vandalism at inception of the administration.
Responding, Otuaro said: “Oil-bearing communities had no fair deal. Now, there is development paradigm shift. Collaboration with oil communities is a must for Delta State Government as what the EGCDF is doing fits squarely with the SMART agenda of Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State. There are State Government approved projects in Okerenkoko, Oporoza, Ogbotobo and in many other places. In Escravos, there is a departure from past neglect. We know there is need for more and we will do more as financial resources of the state improve”.
Otuaro, who last year visited the creeks as Chairman of the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Oil Facility Vandalism to preach peace, tasked the EGCDF to deepen intelligence to know cause so that they will more capably assist government in containing growing sophistication that oil facility vandalism has assumed.
On the continued capacity of Chevron’s Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) that has aided community development aspirations of EGCDF, Otuaro appealed: “I say this with a sense of responsibility. I know funds released to communities are based on business decisions of the oil companies, but these funds should be upwardly reviewed in line with contemporary realities. We need to appreciate the dynamics of time”.
Otuaro emphasised that despite assuming duty at a time when abysmally low crude oil price combined with resurgence of oil facility vandalism to effect blow on the state’s economy largely dependent on oil, Governor Okowa was determinedly discharging his SMART agenda towards prosperity of Deltans.
As a way of dissuading youths from unwholesome oil facility vandalism, Otuaro said Okowa’s SMART agenda has several programmes like STEP, YAGEP and others designed to make youths live productive lives rather than constitute insecurity.
Expressing hope of positive response from the State Government during his appeal for state intervention via the Deputy Governor, Comrade Ukori, said the only state government assistance to Egbema/Gbaramatu oil communities came in the way of science equipments from the Deputy Governor when Barr. Otuaro was a Commissioner in DESOPADEC. While calling on CNL to increase EGCDF funds to expand the size of its development programmes, Ukori however revealed that the CNL-sponsored GMOU initiative had enabled EGCDF to execute 116 projects in Agriculture, Power, Health, Education and other sectors while 18 projects are ongoing.