The chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brittania-U Nigeria Limited, Mrs Catherine Uju Ifejika has said that no amount of ‘blackmail’ or campaign of calumny can discourage the company from carrying out its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme in the Niger Delta region, particularly in its host communities of Ogulagha Kingdom, Delta state.
Mrs Ifejika, a lawyer spoke following claims by General Secretary, Ogulagha Kingdom Youth Council, Comr. Dose Miyenkiriya who alleged Brittania-U had failed in the implementation of its CSR and MOU to the host communities.
Speaking in a telephone conversation with our correspondent, Brittania-U’s CEO said that it was not true that the company had failed in any of its laudable programmes in the region, particularly to Ogulagha, stressing that since inception they have been pursuing a robust policy of significant financial assistance to the Ogulagha Community.
According to her, attempt by some disgruntled individual to ‘blackmail’ the company wouldn’t stop them from continuing with the educational programmes, youth empowerment programmes, vocational training in welding, marine diving, forklift operation, small/medium enterprise (SMEs) development programmes of the company.
It will be recalls that while reacting to a publication by National Secretary, Niger Delta Oil Communities Agenda (NIDOCA), Comrade Emma Akpovoka, earlier published by BigpenOnline, Ogulagha Kingdom Youth Council, in a statement signed by Comr. Dose Miyenkiriya, alleged that no student has been trained in any tertiary institution either abroad or local on Brittania-U scholarship.
The statement alleged that the oil company operates the best form of modern indigenous slavery, stressing that a company that exhibits total disregard for the MoU signed with Kingdom shouldn’t be applauded by any right thinking person.
In her reactions, Mrs Ifejika dismissed the allegations which she described as attempt to ‘blackmail’ and carry out campaign of calumny against the company, pointing out that Brittania-U’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) which has been on course doesn’t deal with people individually but with the Kingdoms.
“Our CSR for Ogulagha Kingdom has been very robust and we have been implementing this policies to better the lot of our people in the host communities. We won’t stop that. All this stories here and there wouldn’t stop us. We know what it cost us to provide basic needs, scholarships, vocational skills training for the youths, and small business initiatives for women in the communities.
“Last year, our Christmas package was robust. We gave from N100, 000 to N50, 000 as honorarium to people during the Christmas and also gave bags of rice and others items. We also extend our hands of fellowship to Warri Kingdom and Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom because we have our jetty in Marine waterside in Warri. So anybody that is saying we have not been up and doing in our CSR programmes is trying to blackmail us.
For instance, during the 1st and 2nd drilling phases of our Ajapa field development project, workers from Ogulagha community were given casual employment by the drilling company and the contractors.
“Apart from these employments, the community in collaboration also, provides us with services of various kinds – such as independent contractors, vendors, suppliers and more.
She said that Brittania-U, an indigenous integrated oil and gas firm had also sponsored non-oil skilled based trainings (basic fish faming) for indigenes from each of the seven Ogulagha villages in the fish-farming business.
This, she said to punctured claims that since the inception of Brittania-U’s operations in 2009 till date, “not even one single individual has been engaged in vocational training in welding, and others”, maintaining that these allegations shows “the individual is out to blackmail us”.
“Is it possible that Brittania-U will be in Ogulagha since 2009 and do nothing for the betterment of the host communities. If they are having issues in their community it has nothing to do with us in Brittania-U.
“Our company achieved first when in 2009 we became the first indigenous E&P company to organize and fund the extensive up-skill training of five workers from the local community as mariners.The training lasted five (5) months and took place in Houma, Louisiana –USA. These mariners were among the marine crew who brought our FPSO “M.V. Brittania-U I” from Houma, Louisiana to Nigeria.
“Since that initial training, our company has trained over 25 certified marine engineers from our host communities. Today, Brittania-U employs more than 20 community residents as full-time staff, and over nine others as contract staff. And they say nobody have benefited from our scholarship scheme?
“These records are verifiable and they are pasted on our website for members of the public to see and no one has since then disputed them. So what do these set of people claiming we have failed to implement CRS want if not ‘blackmailing’.
“This same people alleged I gave the King millions of dollars and they petitioned us, we went to the police to disprove it. The MoU they are talking about is still on course. It is not meant for any individual, it is for the Kingdom.
The N10million we gave, whatever way they appropriated it was part of the MoU arrangement. I signed an MoU with the Kingdom and not with an individual so why should one individual be crying foul about MoU. We are still working on it and the Delta state government is involve so it is not as if it has been closed.
She however said that currently, Brittania-U is planning a robust programme for Ogulagha community in April which would involve everybody in area of medical outreach, skill acquisition for youths and empowerment programme, she added.
Brittania-U Nigeria oversees the operations of the Group in Nigeria and the Upstream (Exploration & Production) activities of the company. The company operates major assets such as the CNL Ajapa Marginal Field (OML 90) and the Ajapa-1 SDTR2 and Tripod/Wellhead, including the FPSO – Brittania-U I.