Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
An indigenous oil firm, Eroton Exploration and Production (E&P) Company Limited, has distributed food items numbering over 2000 bags of rice and noodles, tomato paste and vegetable oil to 60 host communities in Rivers State as part of its contributions to ease the suffering of the people as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Eroton E&P is the operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) joint venture) in the operation of Oil Mining License 18 (OML 18) which until 2014 belonged to SPDC in the Cawthorne Channels and areas in Rivers State.
The company delivered the palliatives at the secretariats of the various cluster boards of the host communities in Port Harcourt and Okrika for onward delivery to the creeks. The communities cut across five Local Government Area of the Rivers State: Degema, Asari Toru, Akuku Toru, Bonny and Okrika.
Some of the items included 1000 bags of rice; 1000 280g tin tomatoes; 1,750 cartons of noodles (Indomie brand); 1000 1 litres of vegetable oil, etc.
Delivering the donations, the Head of Operations, Eroton E&P, Emmanuel Thompson, said the company’s move was informed by the need to cushion the hardship occasioned by COVID-19 in the communities.
Thompson said, “Eroton has earlier participated in interventions in the communities led by NNPC under the independent petroleum producers group, which is an organisation of indigenous oil producing companies and in that intervention we provided ambulances, COVID-19 test kits, surgical and non-surgical masks (N-95), hospital bed, googles and oxygen concentrators, that was our second stage.
“Our first stage of intervention was the sensitisation of host communities, provision of face masks, sanitisers and hand gloves. The host communities are divided into five clusters cutting across 60 communities.”
He added, “The third stage is what we are doing today which is the provision of food palliatives to our host communities and the fourth stage would be the provision of COVID-19 palliatives to the Rivers state government, this would be done when we get a firm date from the state government.
“Like I mentioned earlier, we had given hand sanitisers, face masks to the communities, so within that period we sensitised them and discovered that the next to do was to provide food palliatives to them and that is why we are here.”
Thompson also told journalists about the company’s expectations, saying: “We have been working hand in hand with the communities and we know ourselves. What we expect is for them to partner with us. Eroton is not going anywhere, we are right there in the communities and we expect support from them.
“Our relationship has been very good. The chairman of one of the cluster communities is here and we can state that our relationship is excellent, though no relationship is 100 per cent. The host communities are divided into clusters such as Daa 1, Daa 2, Daa 3, Iloma 3 and one other, all about five clusters of about 60 communities.”
Chairman of Degema 1 Cluster Development Board who received the donated items for communities in his cluster, Firimabo Ogunga, said the palliative was going to be a big relief to the host communities because this came at the peak of needs.