By Nathan Nwakamma
Yenagoa – The KEFFES Rural Development Foundation (RDF) has spent N350 million on community development activities for Chevron host communities in Bayelsa in 2018.
KEFFES, is an acronym for eight Chevron host communities in Bayelsa comprising Koluama 1 2, Ezetu 1 2, Foropa, Fish Town, Ekeni and Sangana located along the Atlantic coastline within Bayelsa.
Mr Esimaje Brikinn, General Manager, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Nigeria Limited, said the foundation embarked on 167 development projects in the area.
Brikinn, who spoke during the 8th Annual General Meeting of KEFFES RDF in Yenagoa on Monday, disclosed that Chevron ran a community driven approach in meeting its social obligations to its host communities in Niger Delta.
Brikinn was represented by Mr Tony Emegere, an official of the Policy, Government and Public Affairs Unit of Chevron at the event attended by representatives of Chevron host communities.
He said that rather than foist projects on the benefitting communities, the oil firm provided the funds while the benefitting communities implemented projects based on their priorities.
According to Brikinn, Chevron carries out community development under the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) template that guarantees transparency and accountability.
Speaking earlier, Mr Mathee Sele-Epri, Chairman of KEFFES RDF commended Chevron for keeping faith with its funding obligations to host communities.
Sele-Epri decried the hostile attitude of communities in Southern Ijaw and Brass Local Government Areas of Bayelsa to contractors executing projects for the foundation.
He regretted that the attitude of the people to contractors stifled development, delaying projects completion and called for a change of attitude to pave way for progress.
Sele-Epri explained that the foundation spent the funds at its disposal prudently under the governance structure spelt out in the GMoU on infrastructure, non-infrastructure and scholarships for hundreds of students.
Also speaking, Chief JTC Leghemo, a Monarch in Koluama 1, one of the eight host communities, noted that the meeting was part of deliberate efforts by the foundation to be answerable to beneficiary communities.
“The past year has been replete with consolidation of our efforts to maintain peace among the communities that make up the foundation. We are here to take stock of our collective journey so far,” Leghemo said.
He urged the foundation to sensitise youths in the communities to refrain from being hostile to project contractors as the act was inimical to development aspirations of the people (NAN)