Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Ltd (NDPR), the wholly owned operating company of Niger Delta Exploration & Production Plc (NDEP) has marked 10 years of Host Community Engagement.
On the 7th February 2001, NDPR was formally introduced to its Ogbele Host Community by Chevron Nigeria Limited, as part of the Farm – Out Agreement for the Ogbele Field. At this meeting, NDEP’s Pioneer Chairman, Late Chief Aret Adams described a partnership, where host communities and NDPR would work together to pioneer the assigning, hosting and developing of marginal fields, to the best interests of all. Ten years later, using the same principles, many sustainable projects have been initiated, funded and completed through the Host Community Development Trust.
The Host Community Development Trust is the vehicle that enables partnership between NDPR and its communities and makes such outreach possible. NDPR entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with its host communities and established the Trust in 1997.
The Trust’s objectives are to undertake and finance Host Community Projects for the advancement and sustainable development of Host Communities, to facilitate employment opportunities, to support local initiatives to protect the environment and advance education. Funded by 5% of NDEP’s audited annual profits and administered by an Independent Board of Trustees, projects are nominated by a Community Advisory Committee, based on the collective need of the community and undertaken using local contractors.
To date, a key road has been rebuilt in Ogbele; in Otari boreholes have been constructed, electricity poles have been erected and a security network has been introduced. Over 800 students in tertiary education, across Rumuekpe, Oshiugbokor, Obumeze, Otari and Ogbele Host Communities, have received annual bursaries, while initiatives have been implemented to promote youth empowerment and skills acquisition. In partnership with NDPR’s civil society partner, Community Life Project (CLP), a 2 year Women and Girl Child Empowerment Programme has been introduced, using micro finance and skills workshops to build local capacity. Collectively, these projects have improved infrastructure, promoted economic empowerment and education and have ultimately increased the quality of life for local residents.
In 2011, the work of the Trust continues unabated, with repairs to a Town Hall in Otari, an upgrade to a key bridge in Oshiugbukor, while the Obumeze Primary School is undergoing renovation. Most recently, the Trust supported four local schools in Otari, Oshigubukor, Ogbele and Obumeze, through the provision of exercise books, which were gratefully received by the school pupils and teaching staff. Additionally, the implementation of a yearly football league competition among youths will be initiated this year, to foster unity between communities. The Company funded the procurement of sporting equipment and kits for this initiative.
‘Since inception, NDPR was determined to adopt a unique approach of genuine partnership with our host communities and to this end, our operating Company established Nigeria’s first Host Community Development Trust in 1997, even long before the production of First Oil, to ensure that host communities were co-opted into the Company’s operations’, said Dr ‘Layi Fatona, MD, NDEP.
‘This ensured that from the outset, host communities were co-opted into and have been benefitting from the Company’s operations, which has enabled us to achieve the recent milestone of 5 years of continuous production. This in itself had allowed many life improving projects to be completed, showcasing what can be achieved with community participation, a desire to make a difference and a dedicated community relations team.’