Rivers Govt Praises Total Energies over Improved Community Relations

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

The Rivers State Government has commended TotalEnergies EP Nigeria Limited for its effective engagement with host communities in the state.

The state Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Amadi Charles made the commendation yesterday, during the closing ceremony of the capacity building training for members of TotalEnergies Host Communities Development Trusts (HCDTs), held in Port Harcourt.

TotalEnergies had organised the weeklong training through a human capacity development provider, Philip Consulting, for members of the HCDTs, to prepare them with the necessary skills to effectively carry out their various responsibilities as apportioned.

Speaking at the event, the commissioner said the state government is pleased with TotalEnergies for setting the pace for other International Oil Companies to emulate in terms of engagement with host communities. 

“The state government is very grateful, especially to TotalEnergies for organising this capacity training for members of HCDTs.

“The government is also happy with TotalEnergies for setting the pace, because settlors in Rivers State, most of them are lacking behind and I think this is an opportunity for them to learn from the good steps of Total.

“What TotalEnergies demonstrated today is not particularly in line with PIA, but it is an addition trying to bring the members together, and enlighten them on the way forward. But in line with PIA, I think Total has actually done a lot for their HCDTs”, Amadi added.

Earlier in his address, the Managing Director, TotalEnergies, Mr Matthieu Bouyer, said since the nomination into the Board of Trustees, the company has held several engagements and orientation meetings with members of the HCDTs on operationalisation of the Trust, informing them of their responsibilities to the benefiting communities.

Addressing the participants at the training, Bouyer who was represented by Mr Obi Imemba, Executive Director, JV Asset, said “You have been fully funded, some of you have settled down to your new offices, and the business of community development is expected to commence in essence”.

The MD who noted that the engagement is the first-of-its-kind in the industry, said operationalising the requirements of the Act concerning the Trust has been a challenging process for the company.

He said for the cooperation of members of the Trusts “We have overcome most of these hurdles. Today, we are proud to declare that we have fully incorporated and funded five Host Community Development Trusts amongst others”.

Bouyer charged the participants on their performance, saying henceforth, they should take over the management of all sustainable community development projects and programmes in line with the PIA.

The MD further charged that “you also have the responsibility to ensure the safeguarding of TotalEnergies facilities and operations within your communities”.

He commended TotalEnergies partners “The NNPC Limited and our Regulators, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) for their support and collaboration through the entire process of the operationalisation of the Host Communities Development Trusts “.

One of the participants who spoke with THISDAY at the closing of the training, Mr Gogo Oguta-Isaiah, said the training will enhance the performance of the BOT and the Adversary Committee in carrying out their responsibility.

Oguta-Isaiah who was a former Caretaker Committee Chairman of Andoni Local Government Area of the state, expressed “The training today has really impacted on us, has given us the ideas on how to carry out development projects, how to implement development projects, how to administer the funds that is coming from the Settlor and how to interface with the communities. 

“Community participation in the PIA is a very important thing we have achieved now because the community can be held through their representative.

“For now the way and manner the Settlor managed the Memorandum of Understanding before the community has taken a new dimension. This new dimension will carry all the agitated interests of all the communities and it appears is going to favour more communities that are denied development as at of yesterday”, Oguta-Isaiah added.

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