Shell wants Niger Delta youth to reduce tension and attract more investors

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IGO WELI (LEFT) WITH MD, OSAGIE OKUNBOR
  • As GM fears that negative operating environment may continue to block reduce employment windows to brilliant scholars
  • Abia school makes waves, wins quiz trophy for second year running

 Shell managers fear that opportunities to absorve most brilliant scholars being churned out through many scholarship schemes in the oil region may be gettig slimmer due to harsh operating environments that now drive away investors away from the Niger Delta. By the exodus, Shell’s General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli, said jobs are lots and other cities especially Lagos keep exploding in job creation and investments.

Weli, who hails from Elelenwo in the heart of the Garden City of Port Harcourt, said at the conclusion of the 2018 Seconadry Schools Quiz contest in Port Harcourt that it is in the interest of the youth of the region to open the business and investment space for prosperity to return.

He said Shell is in the forefront of absorbing scholars produced through their various scholarship schemes and rejected a notion bandied about at the event that those brilliant students fielding tough questions thrown at them by Emma Dorgbaa, the famous Quiz Master from the oil region, would hardly be employed by SPDC. « Shell is known for employing most of the Shell scholars. Over 60 per cent of the workforce in Shell are from the Niger Delta and the oil communities already.  We have many Shell scholars here. Edafe is a glaring example. The data some people may not be the entire picture. Some former MDs were ex-Shell scholars. We encourage feedback and we note the suggstions made by the Rivers State Education Commissioner on the need to employ the scholars at last. It lends credence to what we preach, that the communities should help make the environment better to create more jobs. »

The contest seemed firesome as other schools gave fight to Community Secondary School, Owaza, Abia State, the defending champions, but the Owaza team ensure they returned to Abia with the trophy. Others from Community Secondary School, Aleto Eleme, Rivers State ; Community Comprehensive Secondary School, Rumukwurushie, Port Harcourt, Rivers State ; and Community Secondary School, Rumuopara, also Rivers State, made impressive showings.

The GM said the quiz contest is part of the scheme to support education and excellence in the Niger Delta region and boost human capital reseroir. He said the choice of community schools is to show that there are brains at all levels in the Nigerian society and to further deminstrate that brillaince is not a reserve of the rich.

He went on : « We want to do more but the budget is lean, caused by many negative factors including bunkering, violence, damage to facilities, etc. If we earn more, we do more. Requests flood the tables of the few companies still operating in the region. If we encourage more companies to come to the region, we would have more options to send requests to. »

Weli said he was a product of ‘something like this’ and that Shell has huge belief in the future of Nigeria. « We hope to eventually get the manpower to run the corporate world, though it is not only for SPDC but for other IOCs. The region can be much better than where it is as a state and region. We must stop doing the wrong things. »

He named factors affecting the multinationals from reaching full potentials to include illegal refining, sabotage, community disruptins, internal strife within communities where money for social amenities have to wait for long court cases to end, etc. « Our people must show that we are ready for development. Even when contracts are for communities, there is always a big fight instead of putting heads together on how they could share it. Often, the communities write us to stop their project to enable them fight first. The idea of other regions oppressing us is becoming untenbale because we exhibit greater tendencies to disrupt development. »

His message to the youth of the region : « Think about tomorrow. We seem to be a bit too tranactional. That thing we destroy today could become N20Bn tomorrow. That is why businesses run to Lagos. These corporations do assessment. They study and find out where youths will not shut them down. We have a facility which has been occupied by coommunity for one year now demanding that we hand over the location to their preferred oil company. This sends bad signal to investors. I want the youth to join the discuss on oil and gas in a constructive way. They should be able to participate in coversations about the oil industry in a better way to improve the environment and the economy. »

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