* Cluster chairmen welcome 2000 bags of rice, others
By Codratus Godson
About 60 communities in the Niger Delta have started collecting palliatives from
Eroton E&P to help cushion the ravaging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eroton is a joint venture with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the operation of Oil Mining License 18 (OML 18) which until 2014 belonged to SPDC in the Cawthorne Channels and areas around Asari -Toru local council area as well as Alakiri and Orubiri (Okrika) areas.
The items numbering over 2000 bags of rice and noodles were delivered at secretariats of the various cluster boards in Port Harcourt and Okrika for onward delivery to the creeks. Most of the community leaders and cluster chairmen expressed excitement to receive the intervention.
The cluster chairman of Degema One Cluster Development Board, Engineer Firimabo Bob Ogunga, said the palliative was going to be a big relief to the host communities because this came at the peak of needs.
“Globally, there is crisis due to the virus. It is not only in Nigeria. Many countries have gone into recession and many bad things are happening concerning how to feed and survive. In some developed countries, palliative is delivered house to house, but in Nigeria, it is not possible that way.”
On how the intervention would go down wel without rancour, the cluster boss said: “This is not the first time to get things like this from them. At Christmas they also give us these things. We evenly distribute it. We also have a system of sharing and distribution. As soon as movement resumes, we move these things to the communities mostly of Bille and Krakrama.”
Eroton seems to want to show the host communities in the oil region the difference it may make to allow indigenous oil firms to operate in peace and the numerous benefits that can accrue from a healthy relationship with oil firms.
The palliatives were being delivered at collection points in Port Harcourt and Okrika for host communities which cut across five local councils of the state, including Degema, Asari Toru, Akuku Toru, Bonny and Okrika local council areas. These were received by their representatives at their respective liaison offices in Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor and Okrika local council area.
The operations director of Eroton, Emmanuel Thompson, led the distribution to liaison centres around the state capital.
Eroton E & P said it had earlier participated in the oil industry intervention led by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), an organization of Nigerian indigenous oil producing companies.
Thomson who spoke to newsmen said under the IPPG, Eroton provided ambulance, test kits, surgical and non-surgical masks, hospital beds, goggles and oxygen concentrators. He said the first stage of the interventions was sensitization of host communities, giving of sanitizers, and hand gloves to host communities.
The third stage is palliatives of food to communities which most communities seem eager to participate in. He said: “The 4th stage would be provision of palliatives to the Rivers State government.”
Some of the items include 1000 bags of rice; 1000 280g tin tomatoes, 1. 750 cartons of noodles (Indomie brand) , 1000 1 litres of vegetable oil, etc.
Thompson said: “We have been interacting with the host communities and we had given hand sanitizers, gloves, etc. We knew what their needs were and we agreed with them that the next thing to do is food palliative, which is what we have just delivered today.
“We have been working hand in hand with the communities and we know ourselves. What we expect is for them to partner with us. Eroton is not going anywhere, we are right there in the communities and we expect support from them.
“Our relationship has been very good. The chairman of one of the cluster communities is here and we can state that our relationship is excellent, though no relationship is 100 per cent. The host communities are divided into clusters such as Daa 1, Daa 2, Daa 3, Iloma 3 and one other, all about five clusters of bout 60 communities.”