NLNG involves Rivers communities in development projects

*Commissions Port Harcourt Office Complex

Sopuruchi Onwuka

Africa’s biggest gas supply factor, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited, has reached accord with communities benefitting from its development projects in Rivers State on joint implementation of programmes funded by the company.

The agreements solidify growing presence of NLNG in Rivers State where Governor Nyesom Wike commissioned new ultra-modern and smart Corporate Head Office built by the company in Port Harcourt.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officetr, NLNG, Mr Tony Attah.

The four storey corporate head office complex of the company located in Amadi Ama area of Port Harcourt  sits on 76,000 square metres of land and equipped with one Board room, 121 office spaces and 51 meeting and huddle rooms.

Other facilities in the complex include smart and ergonomic workstations, a library, a press centre, a transit lounge for the company’s jetty, a warehouse, and dedicated fire station.

The rest are a crèche, a gym, two banking halls, an ATM gallery, and ample green area.

With increasing presence among the host communities, NLNG which drives one of the largest community development programmes in Africa stated that its approach to project delivery would now involve participation of the benefitting communties.

(L-R) Wife to NLNG’s MD/CEO, Mrs Oma Attah; NLNG MD/CEO, Tony Attah King of Bonny; Executive Governor, Rivers State Barrister Nyesom Wike; NLNG Board of Directors Chairman, HRM Dr. Edmund Daukoru; NLNG’s Deputy MD, Sadeeq Mai-Bornu; and His Majesty, King Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple III, JP, CON Perekule XI, Amanyanabo & Natural Ruler of Grand Bonny Kingdom at the commissioning of NLNG’s Corporate Head Office in Port Harcourt

The company signed Global Memoranda of Understanding (GMoU) designed to enable the host communities assume ownership and drive sustainable community development with the active support of NLNG.

The first phase of the new agreements was signed between NLNG and the community stakeholders, comprising Ogbum-nu-Abali, Ubeta and Rumuji in Rivers State.

Under this framework, 10 clusters will ultimately be created to drive community-initiated projects through a Foundation that will have a Board of Trustees, Steering Committees, and Community Trusts. NLNG will provide funds for these clusters and also encourage them to seek additional funds from other donors to finance development initiatives in the respective communities.

In her remarks during the signing ceremony, Mrs Eyono Fatayi-Williams, NLNG’s General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, said the Company’s commitment to its vision of “being a global LNG Company, helping to build a better Nigeria” is driving its passion for sustainable relationships with its partners in the community.

She stated that the GMoU would give each community leverage over developmental projects unique to its own needs. She said further that the agreements would contribute to changing the socio-economic terrain of the communities, providing jobs, and creating a conducive business environment for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.

“We, at NLNG, are enthusiasts of participatory sustainable development where the community takes on a leadership role to drive its growth, with the support of NLNG. Each community will identify its development needs and work out implementation through partnerships and physical oversight of projects. We intend to mentor the communities through partnerships with non-governmental agencies and international development agencies to build capacity in managing projects and sustaining outcomes.

“The development of the communities by the communities and for the communities is a win-win strategy for everyone.  It will re-build the basic value of shared responsibility and ownership of development initiatives, thereby ensuring that our hearts and minds are involved in the sustainable development of our communities. We need to change the narrative on sustainable development in the Niger-Delta region and Nigeria as a whole,” she said.

Mrs Fatayi-Williams stated that the Company would continue to pursue sustainable development within its CSR framework, which hinges on four pillars: education, health, economic empowerment, and infrastructure development.

She added that the GMoU would create a safe and peaceful environment for all stakeholders to thrive and meet both development and business goals.

Speaking at the occasion, the Honorable Commissioner of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Rivers State, Hon. Sam Ejekwu, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Ndu Alawari, commended NLNG and communities for peacefully agreeing to the GMoU. He stated that the GMoU was in the right direction for the development of communities in the state. He described the GMoU as a partnership between the company and the government to drive sustainable development.

The GMoU shall cover NLNG’s operational-related activities and CSR programmes and projects, except for the NLNG Post Primary, Undergraduate and Post-Graduate Scholarships which are flagship schemes that support the Company’s vision of helping to build a better Nigeria. 

Phase two of the GMoU agreements will cover Amadi-Ama, and some communities in Ogba, Ekpeye, Kalabari, Egi, Abua, Okrika and Emohua.

Amadi Ama hosts the new corporate head office of the company which was commissioned by Governor Wike who was led on a tour of the facility by the Chairman of NLNG’s Board of Directors, Dr Edmund M. Daukoru, in the company of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Engr. Tony Attah; Deputy Managing Director, Engr. Sadeeq Mai-Bornu; and other members of the company’s senior management team.

(L-R) King of Bonny, His Majesty, King Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple III, JP, CON Perekule XI, Amanyanabo & Natural Ruler of Grand Bonny Kingdom; NLNG’s Deputy MD, Sadeeq Mai-Bornu; NLNG Board of Directors Chairman, HRM Dr. Edmund Daukoru; Executive Governor, Rivers State Barrister Nyesom Wike; NLNG MD/CEO, Tony Attah; Mrs Oma Attah; GGM, LNG Investment Management Services (LIMS), NNPC, Nike Kolawole; and NLNG’s GM External Relations, Eyono Fatayi-Williams at the commissioning of NLNG’s Corporate Head Office in Port Harcourt.

The governor had in 2015 flagged the construction of the building off at its ground-breaking ceremony.

At the commissioning, Governor Wike commended the NLNG management for taking a bold step towards strengthening its relationship with the people of Rivers State. He stated that NLNG’s presence in Port Harcourt City spoke volumes of the Company’s respect for Rivers State people. He added that the decision by Company to construct its head office in the state showed that Rivers State is safe for business.

“I am here because NLNG has show a lot of commitment and support for the host communities and the state. The company has done well and has set an example for other companies to emulate. I am happy with what the company has done for the host communities during the construction of the building. That is what is expected. It has a very good relationship with its hosts in Bonny and in other parts of the state and I believe it will continue to enjoy a hitch-free business in the state,” Governor Wike said. 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike

According to Engr. Attah, the Company’s Managing Director, the building and commissioning of the corporate head office, was in line with its vision of being a global LNG company, helping to build a better Nigeria.

He stated further that the Corporate Head Office has made the Company more visible, adding that the office was an unequivocal statement that NLNG remains a committed partner to the people of Rivers State in the sustainable development of the state.

“Nigeria LNG’s resolve to relocate its corporate head office from Lagos where it was established from inception of its operation was a well thought out decision that, among other things, demonstrates our strong bond of friendship with Port Harcourt and Rivers State even as we reinforce our commitment to stand tall as a Nigerian brand in the global marketplace. By this action, we also attest that Rivers State is not just the ‘Treasure Base of the Nation’ but the home of uncommon hospitality which we have come to enjoy and reciprocate at every opportunity.

“Beyond building a head office for our business, the beautification of this once remote locality was also in our hearts when we started this project. Earlier in August 2018, we had opened a part of this complex – an ultra-modern Transit Lounge – to enable a smooth and comfortable sail between our operating base on Bonny Island and the state capital.

“The construction of the facility was actually our first major step at transforming the shoreline, and since then we have intensified our usual efforts at making the creek a viable waterway for meaningful human activities. Today, we can pride ourselves, even if modestly, as a beacon of modernity in this axis of Port Harcourt. But equally important, we hope that our presence will trigger positive developments in real estate and ancillary businesses in the area.

“The commissioning of this complex is coming at such an auspicious time in the life of Nigeria LNG, a time when we have astutely proven our self as an excellent and reliable player in the global LNG market with 20 years record and still counting. Our doggedness towards achieving even more success in both the international market and the domestic energy sector has prompted the commencement of our Train 7 project which has been avidly socialized among all critical stakeholders,” he said.

He stated that one of the signs of the Company’s commitment to the people of Rivers State in the sustainable development of the state is the N120bn Bonny-Bodo Road, which NLNG is partly funding. He added that some progress has been achieved in one of the most significant CSR initiatives by any single entity in the country and that the 40-kilometre road would boost economic activities and ultimately better the lives of the thousands of Nigerians in Rivers State.

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