The Rivers State government has decried the attitude of international oil companies and banks operating in the state, towards matters affecting social welfare.
The state commissioner for Social Welfare and Rehabilitation, Hon. Damiete Herbert Miller, who disclosed this in an interview with LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt, said the oil companies and banks have refused to see social welfare as part of their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR).
Miller said, “In some states like Lagos, every company has CSR budget for every year, but in Rivers State, there is nothing like that. If I may ask; what are the oil companies doing with their budgets in Rivers State.
“In Lagos State, companies go to the state government to ask what area they can help the government. In Rivers State, when we write to companies, they will reply to say we don’t have that in our budget.
“It is only Total Exploration and Production and the Nigerian Agip that had done something in the area of social welfare. Total has given scholarship to 20 persons with disability while Agip brought in food items. Also, in 2007, Zenith Bank gave scholarship to 13 indigent people in the state with certain amount of money.
“During last year’s Children’s Day, the Lagos State government raised over N400million cash for social welfare. When we write to banks here to help, they will send the letter to their head office in Lagos and tell us later that their CSR budget were spent in Lagos alone.”
Describing the Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation as the philanthropic arm of the state government, Miller said the government feeds over 400 inmates, who are scattered in four homes across Port Harcourt on daily basis.
The commissioner listed the homes run by the state government to include the Special School for Handicapped Children, the Motherless Children’s Home and the Port Harcourt Remand Home, all located in Boroikiri, Port Harcourt as well as the Rehabilitation Centre, Iriebe in Obio/Akpor local government area of the state.
He said, “The Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation is the philanthropic arm of the Rivers State government. What the state government spends on humans through social welfare is more than what it spends on projects and other things people see.
“Presently, we have over 400 inmates in our four homes, the Special School for Handicapped Children, the Motherless Children’s Home and the Port Harcourt Remand Home, all located in Boroikiri, Port Harcourt as well as the Rehabilitation Centre, Iriebe. We feed them on daily basis.”