By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoaâ€” Secretary to the Rivers State government, Magnus Abe, yesterday lampooned multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta, saying their much-touted Global Memorandum of Understanding is yet to turn around the fortunes of the people of the host communities.
But Chevron Nigeria Limited defended its operations in the region, saying it had in the last ten years invested over $150 million on community development initiatives in its area of operations.
Abe, who spoke at a capacity building workshop for media practitioners and community stakeholders in Chevron Nigeria Limited’s Eastern Operations area held in Port Harcourt, lamented what he described as double standard posture of the transnational companies to issues of development in their host communities.
Calling on the companies to embark on value driven change, he wondered why the oil companies, which were claiming to be involved in best standard practice, were in the true sense of it, not doing what they claimed.
The present method of doing things in the communities, he lamented, was not yielding result and must change.
But the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs of Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. Femi Odumabo, defended his organsiation, saying the company has invested over $150million in the last ten years on community development initiatives in its area of operations.
His words:Â â€œChevron is aware of the high expectations by communities around its area of operations, of its role as a catalyst for the development in those areas. The companyâ€™s response is to implement programmes around its community engagement thematic focus, such as health, education and capacity building.
â€œChevron regularly makes significant investments in education, health, environment and empowerment programmes, with more than $150 million committed in the last decade in Nigeria.â€
On the companyâ€™s GMoU, he said apart from the community deciding the projects to be implemented in their areas, contracts to be implemented were also awarded to contractors from the communities.