By Nathan Nwakamma
The Dodo River Communities Development Association in Ekeremor Local Government area of Bayelsa has inaugurated projects worth over N141.65 million funded by the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the beneficiary communities are Amatu I, Amatu II, Biabiri I, Bilabiri II and Bisangbene.
The projects include Dodo River Secretariat in Yenagoa, building and furnishing of Bilabiri I Primary School, water treatment projects, concrete roads and twin-engine speed boats.
Others include communication systems, provision of plastic chairs and tables and canopies for the communities, amongst others.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Dodo House, a secretariat for the communities, Mr Okebia Keku, the Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa Ministry of Mineral Resources, applauded the association for the prudent use of the funds.
He said that the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), the development template which the government was overseeing, had given communities greater participation in the selection and execution of development projects.
Earlier, Mr Berry Negerese, the Chairman of the association, had explained that the projects were executed with funds provided between 2016 and 2019, adding that paucity of funds delayed the Dodo secretariat building project.
He said that the introduction of the GMoU approach by Chevron had enhanced the capacities of Niger Delta communities in development activities as they now handle projects funded by oil firms in a transparent manner.
Negerese appealed to Chevron and other development partners to assist the association with funds to furnish the secretariat to enable them put it to optimal use.
He urged the oil firm to extend community employment opportunities to Dodo River communities it its Agbami offshore oilfields.
King Joel Ibane, the Monarch of Iduwini Kingdom in Ekeremor, applauded Chevron for the gesture and appealed to the oil firm to sustain its development activities in its host communities.
Mrs Uju Obiora, the Senior Programmes Manager, Participatory Partnership for Community Development, the association’s mentoring organisation, applauded the transparent governance structure adopted.
The in-coming chairman of the association, Mr Francis Amanmogiran, urged Dodo River communities to close ranks and seek more development funds from donors to complement their sole source of funding from Chevron. (NAN)