27 June 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — It was a memorable day for Rumuekpe Community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State as French oil giant, Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, TEPNG, commissioned five projects as part of its corporate social responsibility to the host communities.
The projects commissioned are State Primary School II Rumuekpe, six classroom blocks at Community Secondary School Rumuekpe, 64 open stalls at Ovelle-Nvakaohia market, Ovelle-Nvakaohia Ancestral Hall and two blocks of lock-up shops in Imogu-Nvakaohia, all in Rumuekpe.
Speaking at the ceremony organised for the commissioning of the projects, Total’s Deputy Managing Director, Mr. François Le-Cocq, said each of the projects was nominated by Rumuekpe community within the scope of the 2012-2016 Memorandum of Understanding with TEPNG.
Represented by Total’s Adviser, Community Affairs and Development, Mr. Enefiok Akpan, Le-Cocq expressed displeasure over incessant attacks on its facilities in the community by vandals.
He said the company needs to operate freely in the community so has to be able to generate resources to fulfil the commitments in the MoU it has with the community.
According to him, “Regrettably, whereas the company is striving to fulfil her MoU commitments to the communities in Rumuekpe, we have not enjoyed the envisaged peaceful ambience to operate. Our physical assets and facilities through these communities are persistently impaired through vandalism.
“These acts, cause disruptions to our operations, weaken the integrity of the facilities and inflict huge financial losses to the company. But most importantly, it also adversely degrades your environment and your sources of livelihood.
“It will be our mutual interest for the community and the company to observe the tenets underpinning the commitments taken by all parties to the MoU. We need to operate our facilities without let or hindrance, in order to generate the resources to fulfil the MoU commitments.”
Earlier, Rumuekpe representative in Total E&P Nigeria Limited, Mr. Richard Ajuru, who commended the management of Total for the projects, however, requested for the employment of indigenes of the community in Total.
Ajuru, who spoke on behalf of the community also appealed for the renegotiation of Nvakaohia MoU with Total, while pledging to safeguard the projects commissioned by the company.
“Permit me to inform you that since the inception of SAFRAP Nigeria Limited now Total E&P in 1965, till date no Rumuekpe son or daughter is in your employ.
“Interestingly, the issue of unemployment has always reverberated in all our MoU from 2002 to date, yet to no avail. We request that subsequently, you accord it a top priority attention.
“Finally, we pledge to put to optimal use of all the facilities commissioned here today and promise to protect them accordingly.”
For his part, the Headmaster of State Primary School II, Nvakaohia Rumuekpe, Mr. Edward Anthony, appealed to Total to add more colours to the school through the provision of electricity, water, school bus, desks, tables and chairs to facilitate teaching and learning.
It should be noted that Rumuekpe which plays host to several assets such as oil wells, flow station, gas pipelines and oil pipelines operated by SPDC, Total, NDPR and NLNG, before now had no Primary School, market, townhall etc following intra-communal crises which sacked the community between 2005 and 2008.