By Samuel Oyadongha
KOLUAMA I—IT was celebration galore, weekend, for eight oil-bearing communities on the Atlantic fringe of Bayelsa State as KEFFES Rural Development Foundation, RDF, inaugurated 20 capital projects in the communities hosting operations of Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, in the predominately riverine state.
NDV learned that the 20 projects were implemented at a total cost of N241.43 million over the last two years.
KEFFES is an acronym for eight Chevron host communities in Bayelsa comprising Koluama I and II, Ezetu I & II, Foropa, Fish Town, Ekeni and Sangana, located along the Atlantic coastline.
The elated rural folks came out in their numbers to witness the inauguration ceremony held at Koluama I community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
Chevron-financed projects – Sele-Epri, KEFFES RDS boss
Speaking at the event, Chairman, KEFFES RDF, Mr. Matthew Sele-Epri, said the projects were financed by Chevron.
According to him, the oil firm had ensured prompt release of funds to the RDF under the Global Memorandum of Understanding, GMoU, between Chevron and its host communities in Southern Ijaw and Brass local government areas of Bayelsa.
“As you may know, KEFFES RDF is saddled with the responsibility of developing the KEFFES communities and it is in furtherance of this mandate that we are gathered here.
“The KEFFES RDF embarked on some 20 capital projects years back and we are here today to commission these projects so they can be put to use for the benefit of the members of the KEFFES communities.
“These projects range from educational interventions in building of teachers’ quarters to accommodate teachers and youth corps members, roads, power and bridges amongst others.
“These projects were executed with funds from KEFFES/NNPC/Chevron GMoU, our commitment to development of our communities was a major drive towards prudent management of limited funds accruing to KEFFES RDF,” Sele-Epri said.
Bayelsa govt commends CNL
Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mineral Resources, Bayelsa State, Mr. Christmas Brass who represented the Bayelsa Commissioner for Mineral Resources, Mr Markson Fefegha, cut the tape to inaugurate the projects in Koluama I.
The projects are two 100 meters by 4 meters concrete walkways and Teachers’ quarters to symbolise inauguration of other projects sited across the eight communities.
Fefegha lauded the management of Chevron for meeting its social obligations to Bayelsa communities under the GMoU supervised by the Bayelsa Ministry of Mineral Resources.
Use 13% derivation to develop oil communities – Chief Gorley
Speaking on behalf of the benefiting communities, Chief Marcus Gorley, appealed to Bayelsa government to compliment the efforts of Chevron and other oil firms by extending development to rural oil communities.
He said that the development intervention by oil firms was appreciated, but grossly inadequate given the development challenges in the Niger Delta. Gorley urged the state to channel part of its 13 per cent derivation funds to oil communities.