By Kelechi Esogwa
At a time when the Rivers State seems unhappy with the style of community development in some other oil communities, the state government has come out to commend the Eroton E&P model. The government has also hailed the commissioning of an integrated farm project in a part of the state.
The permanent secretary, Ministry of Community and Chieftaincy Affair, Felix Odungweru, spoke the mind of the state government on Thursday, December 5, 2019, while commissioning a string of projects flagged off in Asari-Toru local council and Akuku-Toru local council, all in Rivers State.
The state government talked about Eroton’s seeming unflinching commitment to its social corporate responsibility in its host communities in the state saying the seat of power in the state has noted the efforts. Rivers State is usually turn apart by the activities of one oil corporation or the other in recent times.
Eroton E&P has been commissioning sustainable projects it built through development cluster boards and funded through its joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). So far, the company has flagged off projects in Bille, Krakrama, Minama, Sangama and Ifoko Communities.
On Wednesday, December 4, 2019, Eroton E&P commissioned two other projects; an integrated agro-farm in Ido Community in Asari-Toru and a town hall project in Abonnema Town in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
Expressing delight over the agro-farm project, Odungweru said it was a product of series of meetings, negotiations, and resolutions culminating in a group memorandum of understanding between Eroton and all the communities in the Degema 3 Cluster Development Board.
Odungweru, who spoke to journalists shortly after commissioning and inspecting the agro-farm in Ido, said the project has the capacity to transform the lives of the people of the host communities that make up the Degema 3 cluster development board.
Earlier in his welcome address, chairman of Degema 3 cluster development board, Christian Sekibo Jnr, said the board decided to invest the funds made available to it by the JV partners in an income-yielding project, hence the agro-farm.
He said the farm has four sections which include poultry farm with an installed capacity for 15,000 birds, fishery with the capacity for 20,000 catfish fingerlings, snailry with the capacity for 8,000 snails and piggery with capacity for 144 piglets and pigs.
Appealing to the public to patronize the board when sales from the agro-farm commences, Christian Sekibo Jnr thanked the people of Ido Community for providing the 12 plots of land on which the project was sited.
“We also appreciate the peaceful and harmonious atmosphere afforded by the community since the commencement of the project till date. We request that this should continue.
“For our joint venture partners, NNPC/Eroton E&P, we thank you for sponsoring this and other projects in the cluster. Only yesterday, various completed community-based projects sponsored by you were commissioned in Minama, Sangama and Ifoko, apart from those of Tema, Abalama and Ido earlier commissioned. Today, this farm and the ultra-modern town hall in Abonnema will be commissioned.
“Yet we have ongoing projects in Tombia, Obuama, Captain Kiri, Elem Ama and Tema. All these projects, apart from this farm, are sponsored with project funds for 2017, 2018 and 2019. The DAA3 board also appreciates the harmonious relationship existing between us,” Sekibo Jnr added.
Addressing the visitors briefly before the commissioning of the Abonnema Town Hall, the secretary, Abonnema Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs, Faye Memberr, who represented the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, Disrael Gbobo Bob-Manuel, described the commissioning of the projects as epochal.
He said the town hall building would remain a landmark project in Kalabari.
In his brief remark, Emmanuel Toby of the Community Affairs Department, Eroton E&P., said they were there to witness the commissioning of projects that would impact positively on the lives of the people positively.
The town hall, like the agro-farm, was also officially commissioned by the permanent secretary.