By Bernard Dada Tolani, Uyo
Governor Udom Emmanuel today, performed the ground breaking ceremony of a multi Million naira, 100 units Housing Estate in Ewang, Mbo local government area, with a call on the donor and facilitator, Oriental Energy Resources Ltd to move a step further by sitting a functioning corporate office in the state.
Represented by the Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke, the governor who said his government was looking to the establishment a refinery and petrochemical plant by the company in Mbo, said a situation where the oil companies operating in the state would fly into their area of operation in the morning in an helicopter and fly out of the state in the evening after the day’s operation would not be accepted.
“My government believes that the presence of an oil company such as Oriental Energy must be felt more in their areas of operation. This is your primary area of business activity. I will urge the company to have a well functioning corporate office complex in our state.
A situation where a company involved in oil exploration activities flies in staff in the morning and flies our in the evening will no longer be acceptable ”
While reiterating the readiness of the state for investment, Governor Udom said his government was ready to partner the oil company” We are ready for partnership”. He lauded Oriental Energy Resources for registering a strong corporate social responsibility presence in its area of operation by undertaking the construction of 100 units modern residential estates in Ewang to be donated at no costs to indigenes of Mbo affected by coastal erosion. Udom described the Oriental Village project as “one of the best example of Corporate social responsibility in Nigeria” .
He noted that the project when completed will impact tremendously on the socio-economic lives of the people of Mbo, and charged Mbo youths to protect the Oil company’s facility and the housing estate.
In a good will message, Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, represented by his Deputy Governor, Alhaji Usman marman Dokwa, who described the Chairman of the Oriental Energy, Alhaji Dr. Muhammadu Indimi, as a worthy business man and father who is held in high esteem by the government and people of Borno state, stated that the government of Borno appreciates the partnership and unity existing between Borno state and Akwa Ibom State.
“What is witnessed today shows that he is a man of the people.”
Governor Shettima enjoined beneficiaries of the housing project to make judicious use of the houses that would be given to them.
In his address, Executive Chairman of Oriental Energy Resources Ltd, Alhaji Dr. Muhammadu Indimi, OFR, said the oil company was established in 1990 partly as a response to government’s efforts to involve and increase indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry.
“We are passionate about our country and our people, passionate about partnering with the people in our host communities where we operate for development and capacity building, for the growth of our nation. This passion is why we are here today; to lay the foundation for sustainable development and a lasting legacy”.
Indimi who disclosed the various achievements of his company in the area of corporate social responsibility including, offering scholarship, skills acquisition and capacity building, provision of fishing boats and equipment to members of its host community, maintained that the provision of shelter by his company to 100 Mbo indigenes, was a step aimed at strengthening of partnership existing between the company and its host community.
In a message of appreciation, the Paramount Ruler of Mbo, Ovong Dr. Edet Isemin, who spoke on behalf of the Traditional Rulers Council, TRC, noted that the flag off the Oriental village in Mbo, signals a clear commitment by the oil company to develop its host community. He said by the singular action the people of Mbo regards Oriental Energy Resources Ltd as a major contributor to the development of Mbo local government area.
He challenged other oil companies operating in the area to emulate Oriental Energy.
A chieftaincy title of Ovong Uforo Mbo was conferred on Alhaji Indimi by the Mbo Traditional Rulers council as a mark of appreciation of his company’s contribution to the development of Mbo.
Managing Director of the company, Ignatius Ifelayo, thanked the Governor, top government functionaries, other dignitaries outside the state, and members of the host community for responding to the company’s invitation.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the ground breaking ceremony, the company’s MD, explained that the criteria for selection of beneficiaries of the housing estate would be handled by the royal fathers.
Briefing the governor on the scope of work at the site the contractor handling the project, Mr. Ibrahim Atta who is the Executive Director, ABACUS Building Services, ABS, explained that the housing estate which is to be called, Oriental Village, when completed will have a solar-powered electrification system that would provide a 24 hour electricity in the estate and won’t need PHCN light, a school, clinic, and shopping centre.
The modern Housing estate which is valued at N700 Million, sits on a 2.5 hectare of land which is provided by the people of Eyo-Ukut and facilitated by the Enwang Council of chiefs, led by the Clan head. Special technology is applied in the construction of the houses, as it take seven days to complete on building, according to the contractor.
In attendance during the ceremony were, the Chief Whip of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong, member representing Mbo, Hon. Samuel Ufuo, Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum Resources, Mr. Orman Esin, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Victor Antai, Chairman, A senior citizen of Mbo and governorship aspirant, Mr. Asuquo Okpo, Mbo local government Transition committee, Mr. Mfon Bassey, and members of the Transition Committee.
Others include, Borno State Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Sulu Unele, Commissioner in charge of Poverty Alleviation, Hajia Inua Galadima, Village head, Clan heads other Members of Borno State Executive Council.