By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Niger Delta University (NDU), Amasomma, Bayelsa State, at the weekend got a boost from a consortium of oil multinationals under the Agbami Co-venturers, when the leadership of the institution was presented with a multi-million naira diagnostics laboratory.
The Agbami Co-Venturers comprises Star Deepwater Petroleum Limited, owned by Chevron; Famfa Oil Limited, sponsored by Mrs. Modupe Alakija; Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Statoil Nigeria Limited and Petrobras Nigeria Limited.
At the ceremony, Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, expressed delight at the gesture, but requested even closer collaboration between the oil companies and their host communities.
Speaking during the event which took place at the School of Health Sciences, NDU, theÂ Â General Manager of Star Deepwater Petroleum, Lanre Kalejaiye, said since the offshore Agbami Field was inaugurated, the oil companies had donated 33 science laboratories and 25 chest clinics to different states of the federation.
He added that the presentation of the diagnostics centre was part of the series of projects in the state in the area of education and health, stressing that in Bayelsa alone, a hybrid library, a science laboratory complex and a leprosy and tuberculosis centre had been built.
According to him, over 869 indigent Bayelsa students have also benefited from the Agbami Medical and Engineering Professional Scholarships (AMEPS) and Chevron Joint Venture Scholarships.
Kalejaiye noted that the lab would give students access to modern research facilities and stimulate major medical research breakthroughs in the region.
Alakija, the Famfa Chair, who was represented by Mr. Obinna Nyoso, said the project was an affirmation that the company was fulfilling its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to its host communities.
However, while conducting the official opening of the lab,Â Dickson who was represented byÂ the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Serena Dokubo-Spiff,Â appreciated the establishment of the medical facility, but called for more commitment from the oil concerns.
He added that only when agreements are honoured would there be mutual trust between the oil companies and their hosts.
In his address, the Acting Vice Chancellor of the NDU, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, said the medical laboratory, which is the first of three phases, was initiated in 2008 and expressed optimism that when completed, the project wouldÂ impact the country at large.
He assured the Agbami Co-venturers of the institutionâ€™s commitment to the proper maintenance of the facility.