Dateline: August 18, 2022, an indigenous crude oil production company, Oriental Energy Resources Limited commissioned and handed over new and upgraded essential teaching and learning facilities to Community Primary School, Ibuot Utan in Effiat, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State; a Demonstration of the company’s commitment to education and human capital development in the state, especially in Effiat community.
National Point learned that before the project by the oil company, the Community Primary School, with more than sixty children were receiving instruction from dilapidated structure.
It was further gathered that the restoration and provision of new facilities by Oriental Energy is part of its wider initiative of building safe schools to support inclusive and quality education across communities which is in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, as well as evidence of implementation of the Community Assisted Project component of Oriental Energy’s Project Specific Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Effiat community.
Managing Director of the company, Mustafa Indimi, in a speech read by the General Manager, Operations, Augustine Ekeigwe, gave valuable insight into the project, saying : ”We embarked on the project in this community for two reasons. Firstly, we fully recognize that education is a human right, as such, we passionately believe that every child has a right to education from the primary level to higher levels of education. This is evident for example, in our annual university scholarship awards for undergraduate students.
”Secondly, this project serves as our contribution towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals agreed in 2015 by all the 193 member states of the United Nations including Nigeria. Sustainable Development Goal 4 is focused on ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promotion of lifelong learning. It also advocates for free, quality primary and secondary education for every child.”
According to him, the company had also ensured the participation of thousands of the community people at the annual free medical outreach for the people of Mbo, a 5-day capacity building workshop on Sustainable Community Development Planning and Management which had 10 people from Effiat out of 26 participants in July 2022.
Continuing, he added that the community’s young people were among 250 undergraduates from various LGAs in Akwa Ibom State awarded with fully funded scholarships for the 2021/2022 academic session. Also, seven Effiat young persons were among 15 beneficiaries who have begun a one-year Technical Skills Acquisition Program in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State. Oriental Energy bears full cost of the training including monthly stipends, personal protection equipment, accommodation, provisions and other essential needs.
The Commissioner for Power and Petroleum Development, Dr John James Etim, thumbed-up the company for its investment in the education sector, appealing to the beneficiaries to utilize the facilities to promote academic excellence.
“Oriental Energy has proven to be a responsible corporate citizen and a partner to the state. Their social investment in the education sector is incomparable. Education is the foundation of development, therefore, handing over the school project to the Community Primary School will enhance human capacity development in the community.
”More so, I urge other oil and gas companies in the state to emulate this noble gesture by investing in their host communities”, he said
Represented by Engineer Emmanuel Inyang, Director of Petroleum Development, the commissioner, however, urged the company ”to do more to the people of its host communities, as doing so will engender cordial relationship as well as provide the needed social license to operate.”
His counterpart in Labour and Manpower Planning, Elder Aniefiok Nkom, corroborated him that the company has performed creditably well ”as a corporate citizen that is committed to the interest and affairs of their host communities.”
The Commissioner who was represented the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Sunday Umana, added, ”It is heart-warming to note that these projects embarked upon by your organization are tailored in line with the completion agenda of the present administration which are infrastructural and rural and riverine area development aimed at effective delivery of social investment initiatives for the general benefits of the community, the pupils and the state.”
Similarly, the Commissioner, Mrs. Idongesit Etiebet, was also full of praise, saying “I’m so happy with what the organisation has done in the education sector. Even went beyond this to tertiary level scholarships and training young people in technical skills.”
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Lady Rose Bassey, she said the Ministry was always excited when people and organizations joined hands with the government to make education a success in the state, as according to her, the government places great emphasis on education as such every child was expected to be in school.
In a speech read by a member of the Akwa Ibom State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Sir John U. Udoh, the chairman, also spoke glowingly about the firm, describing it as a pacesetter in educational development in Mbo in particular and the state at large.
”By being the initiator of today’s event, your company has proven the fact that education is a serious business hence it should not be left in the hands of the government alone.
‘’It is a mere truism to say that investment in education especially at this basic level is an investment in peace, economic development and prosperity of this great country.”
Highlight of the event was the signing and handing over of the project which ensured that the school management, Effiat community and SUBEB take full ownership of the facilities. However, in support of Oriental Energy’s CSR initiative, SUBEB promised to add additional classroom blocks to the school in 2023.
The core areas of Oriental Energy’s social investment interventions are community health, education and human capital development, enterprise development and support, and capacity building for sustainable development.
Since commencement of its commercial production, the company has become one of Nigeria’s thriving indigenous companies with full local content capacity and it now leads other marginal field operators with its responsible operations and interventions.