Under a new memorandum of understanding, MoU, signed by the Nigerian LNG Limited, NLNG, and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, SPDC, with the Grand Bonny Kingdom in Rivers State, the two companies would be providing N3 billion annually for the development of the kingdom.
Part of the MOU provides that sustainable community development in the Kingdom would now be driven by the community rather than the corporate organisations as was the case in the past.
A statement by Dr. Kudo Eresia-Eke, General Manager in charge of External Relations at the NLNG, said the N3 billion annual development fund would be made available through the Bonny Kingdom Development Foundation, BKDF, which will manage all the community developmental activities, supervise initiatives by NLNG and SPDC and implement a revised Bonny Master Plan in Bonny.
The new MoU replaces a 1998 MoU signed by the companies, known as Joint Industry Companies, JIC, for Bonny Kingdom, targeted at providing infrastructure and implementing a master plan, which has led to the provision of power supply, good roads, portable water supply, and a vocation school.
The Amanyanabo of Ancient Grand Bonny Kingdom, King Edward Asimini William DappaPepple III, Perekule XI signed the new MoU on behalf of Grand Bonny Kingdom, in the presence of Dr. Ipalibo Banigo, Deputy Governor, Rivers State, and Hon. Benjamin Ibietonye, Chairman, Caretaker Committee, Bonny Local Government area
The statement added that during the signing ceremony at the palace of the Amanyanabo, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NLNG, Mr. Babs Omotowa, said the new MoU would change the approach of NLNG’s partnership with its host communities in a way that enables them take charge of their development.
“I am pleased to announce the following three tranches of contributions that NLNG will make annually, through the BKDF towards this vision: N1 billion towards the operations and maintenance of ongoing educational and utility institutions; N1bn towards the developmental initiatives of the Kingdom as reflected in the Updated Master Plan; and another N1bn would be set aside as bonus to the community, which would only be released on the condition that there was a conducive environment to our businesses,” he said.
Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, who also spoke at the occasion, said: “We’re delighted at the inauguration of the new MoU for Bonny Kingdom. The successes of the previous MoU should inspire all parties to accord the latest one all the attention it deserves. SPDC will play its part to make the MoU work for the benefit of all stakeholders in this ancient kingdom.”