On Tuesday, July 16, 2019, the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre Abuja hosted dignitaries from 8 states of the northern region who came to express their sincere gratitude to the management and staff of Total Upstream Company in Nigeria for citing unique projects in their communities.
The occasion was the official the commissioning and handover of projects executed under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of Total and its partners the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and PETROBRAS, SAPETRO & CNOOC, in the Northern zone of the country.
In case you’re wondering why Total is engaging in such activities in the region you may have considered as being out of their core area of operations especially since it is the Upstream company that it is involved, the answer is not far fetched.
There are some extant regulations in Nigeria which specific that oil and gas companies operating in the nation’s deep water to adopts the entire country as host especially for its CSR activities.
Interestingly, the commissioned projects are carefully selected to improve their lives people of the host communities and have the potentials of possibly changing the economic narratives of the region and generations unborn, if they are sustained.
According to the company, completion and commissioning of these projects, were borne out of the need to mitigate the gaps in qualitative and technical education, maternal and child health, access to clean water and sanitation.
In addition, the location of the projects was said to have being carefully chosen to impact the internally displaced persons especially in the North East of the country.
They are also said to be in congruence with the United Nations Sustainable Goals Nos 3, 4, 6 and 7. Most of these projects are delivered with integrated solar power which is environment-friendly and cheaper to run.
They include the following: ICT Center with Mini Theatre at Aminu Saleh College of Education, Azare, Bauchi State; ICT Centre with Mini Theatre at Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto State; Mammography Centre at General Hospital Anka, Zamfara State; Maternal & Child Referral Centre in Bama, Borno State; and School Science Laboratory at Govt. Secondary School, Dutsinsafe, Katsina State.
Others are, Block of Six Classrooms at St Boniface Primary School, Idah, Kogi State; Water Project at Bennin Kebbi, Kebbi State; Water Project at Sokoto Specialist Hospital, Sokoto, Sokoto State; Water Project at Offa, Kwara State; and Water Project at Inye, Kogi State.
In his welcome address, Depute Managing Director, Deepwater District, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, Engr. Ahmadu-Kida Musa said the projects were constructed and equipped at a cost of about One billion naira (N1,000,000,000.00).
He stated that the NNPC/Total and her Partners (Petrobas, Sapetro and Cnooc), continues to intervene in the social-economic environment of Nigeria through the deployment of various projects.
“Annually, the company provides 1600 scholarships to beneficiaries in tertiary institutions. Other projects include construction, equipping of model schools, science laboratories, and ICT centers.
“In the area of health, the company is constructing four (4) units of maternal and child referral centers in the North East to assist the women and children impacted by the on-going insurgency in the area. One of these is being commissioned today at Bama.
“Mammogram centers are also being deployed, two of them have already been commissioned in Lagos state while one is being commissioned at Anka, Zamfara State today. Cancer is a dangerous, chronic disease. Breast cancer is the commonest occurring cancer in women,” he said.
Backing his points with data, Engr” Musa said the World Health Organization (WHO), revealed that over two million new cases were diagnosed worldwide, in 2018, resulting in 627,000 deaths. Stressing that the CSR initiative is therefore a major milestone in realizing early diagnoses of breast cancer, prevent late stage presentation of the disease, aiding treatment, and follow-up of patients.
In what can be described as a bold step towards reducing the incident through the country, Total has assured it will deploy these equipment nationwide. “It is our intention to deploy these equipment to all the states of the federation according to our strategic plan,” Engr. Musa said.
Speaking on the rationale behind the water projects, the Deputy Managing Director said, the company believes in axiom, “Water is life”. In keeping fate with the belief, the company is currently constructing over 9 units of solar powered boreholes with treatment plants in various parts of the country. Four of these units were commissioned at the event.
Expatiating on role of local content in the execution of the projects, he said the projects were realized using the novel approach of “Project Managers”.
This approach, he said is new in the industry, permits the delivery of projects in remote and challenging environments while ensuring the use of local expertise and stakeholder engagements.
“I am really happy that these pilot projects worked. We are using the “retour d`experience” to improve our processes,” he said.
It is important to mention that the projects commissioned on Monday are only a few of the projects being deployed across the entire country by Total and its partners in this life touching CSR initiative.
According to reports the company will soon be commissioning and handing over similar projects in other states and regions of the country. A total of 32 projects are said to be on board the ongoing phase of the initiative.
In what appears to be a reassurance on its commitment continue to initiate such projects if the beneficiaries sustain the projects, Engr. Musa said, “We implore you to ensure their sustainable use so as to impact on the people positively. The sustainability barometer shall be seen during the Impact Assessment Exercise, when the company will come back to check on how these projects have helped and improved the lives of the communities where they are located.”
Meanwhile, the beneficiaries has assured they commitment to protecting and using the projects even as the commended Total and her partners for the noble initiative.
Speaking on behalf of the Shehu of Bama, Dr. Babagama Kiagama expressed appreciation to Total/NNPC and its partners for the good gesture. He stated that Bama was the worst affected town by the activities of the Boko Haram insurgence hence the location of a healthcare facility is apt.
“I will use this opportunity to ask for more of such facilities from corporate organizations and individuals to help restore normal life to our peoples,” he said.
On his part, the Sokoto State Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof Bashir Garba, thank the companies for the support most especially as the stated benefited from two categories.
“We thank Total/NNPC and their partners for extending the CSR to the northern part of the country. Before now they have always concentrated in the south. We look forward to benefit such support from other players in the oil and gas sector as well as other sector such as the mining sector,” he said.
Tolling a similar line, a representative of the Kaduna State government, permanent secretary, ministry of education, Hajiya Lima Ahmed, assured the organizers our the government’s commitment to utilize the laboratories positively to the benefit of all.
In all Total and its partners NNPC, Sapetro, Petrobras & CNOOC must be appreciated for providing the means, processes and resources that enabled the deployment of the local development projects.
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