allAfrica.com: Shell Waves Olive Branch to Niger Deltans: “MULTINATIONAL Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has set for itself, the task of rebuilding its image among its often angry host communities, especially the Ogoni.” (ShellNews.net) Posted 15 Jan 05
Daily Champion (Lagos)
MULTINATIONAL Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has set for itself, the task of rebuilding its image among its often angry host communities, especially the Ogoni.
The company is seeking to change the perception of Niger Delta communities about its intentions for them.
Shell Managing Director Mr. Basil Omiyi, says the company is placing priority on proving that it can "work peacefully, happily, mutually and beneficially with the Ogoni people."
Mr. Omiyi, spoke at a special dinner hosted in his honour in Port Harcourt, by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), at Hotel Presidential in the Rivers State capital.
He said the firm looked forward to working in Oloibiri, Bayelsa State, to provide what befits the community as the first place where SPDC found oil in commercial quantity.
"I really look forward within a very short time, within the next 12 months to actually have something on ground in Oloibiri because Oloibiri had been very close to my heart and the heart of my company," he noted.
Mr. Omiyi said about 70 per cent of SPDC's employees are from the Niger Delta just as he noted the firm was an advocate of the region.
He thanked NDDC for the honour, saying the celebration was a fulfillment of people in the region and Nigerians even as he pledged that Shell was committed to deliver its responsibility as a citizen of Nigeria.
He also praised the NDDC over its development programmes in the regional masterplan, especially as it allows for input and participation from the people themselves.
He advised that in the implementation of the masterplan, the people needed to be similarly considered first especially on issues of employment.
Earlier in his opening remarks, outgoing NDDC board chairman, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu said he first met Mr. Omiyi in 1996 when Shell was having a tough time, and had hired public relations experts who organised workshops worldwide to showcase the activities and practices of the firm.
Chief Ugochukwu said he had keenly watched Mr. Omiyi's career with admiration and happiness ever since and expressed delight that the company finally consented to appoint a Nigerian to the managing directorship.
He said SPDC's pro-active engagements have pointed the way forward for NDDC's relationship with other oil companies and noted that NDDC is celebrating both Mr. Omiyi and his organisation, saying they had had an increasing warm relationship.
"Shell as everybody knows is the biggest oil producer in Nigeria and is therefore the biggest contributor to the NDDC family, even years before NDDC's existence."