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Indigenous oil company donates relief materials worth N170m to flood victims in Bayelsa

Yenagoa—An indigenous oil firm, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company (First E&P), which operates the Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 83 and 85 in a joint venture with the NNPC, has donated relief materials worth N170m to some communities affected by the recent floods in Bayelsa State.

The nation newspaper reports that the handover of the relief materials was performed yesterday at an event held at Danielle Jetty, Oxbow Lake area of Yenagoa, the state capital.

The relief materials were officially presented on behalf of the First E&P by the Head of Social Performances, Mr. Ayebatonye Basuo.

The materials were received on behalf of the benefiting communities by leaders of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps from across the state.

Representatives of the Bayelsa State government led by the Commissioner for Mineral Resources, Mr. Ibiere Jones, witnessed the ceremony.

It was gathered that over 24,000 IDPs, whose homes and farms were submerged by floods, are expected to receive the relief materials.

It was also gathered that the donations of the oil company would help alleviate hardships from the disaster across 48 IDP camps.
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Items presented as part of the donations comprised foodstuffs, water and other hygiene products.

Speaking at the handover event, Ayebatonye Basuo said: “Our thoughts and prayers have continued to be with all those who have been affected by the flooding experienced across the nation in the last few weeks.

“We understand how difficult it must have been for people to be displaced from their homes and to see their sources of livelihood adversely impacted.

“At First E&P, we seek to always ensure that through our social performance strategy, stakeholders and host communities benefit from our presence on a sustainable basis.

“We drive this through flagship community development programmes which cover interventions in the areas of education, health, infrastructures and human capital development.

“However, when unprecedented disasters like the recent floods occur, we also seek ways in which we can intervene to make positive impacts.”

Responding, Governor Douye Diri applauded the JV for showing concern and empathy to the people of Bayelsa beyond their immediate host communities, describing the approach as impactful.

The Governor, represented by the Commissioner for  Mineral Resources,  Mr. Ibiere Jones, said:  “I want to say that the approach adopted by the NNPC/FIRST E&P Joint Venture is novel.

“They thought outside the box by using the IDP camps as points of contact unlike other companies who come into the state and went to the communities and gave out items without the knowledge of the government; they duly informed the government and that shows that they are indeed a partner.

“From what I can see, the value of this intervention is huge, and being a wholly indigenous company owned by Nigerians, it is very pleasant.”

On hand to receive the relief items were representatives of over 40 identified internally displaced persons camps.

Reacting to the donation, an IDP, Mrs. Charity Godwin, recalled the ordeals of the floods and expressed gratitude to the JV for identifying with the people of Bayelsa.

Also, Mr. Konyeifa Austin, from Mechanic Road camp, Yenagoa, recalled that most displaced people were also victims as criminals made away with the valuables they left behind.

He said that the items would ameliorate the sufferings faced by the people as the floods recede.

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