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Aiteo expands social investment to education

By Gloria Ehiaghe
02 July 2019   |   4:09 am
Nigeria’s oil exploration company, Aiteo, has scaled up its social contributions towards education, just as it had with football.

Benedict Peters of Aiteo Group

Nigeria’s oil exploration company, Aiteo, has scaled up its social contributions towards education, just as it had with football.

Recently, the oil giant said it contributed N500million to the Bayelsa State Education Development Trust Fund (BEDTF), marking it the largest donation received by the foundation since its enactment into law onMarch 29, 2017.

According to Aiteo, the decision to scale up its contributions to education in Nigeria with focus on Bayelsa State, indicates a commitment to the country’s fundamental development, which hosts a considerable part of the company’s operations, in addition to intensifying its community engagement under a new management.

Speaking at the event, the Executive ViceChairman, Aiteo, Benedict Peters, who was represented by the new ManagingDirector, Eastern Exploration and Production, Victor Okoronkwo, said the Group’s sustainability investments are hinged on education as a tool to eliminate the cycle of poverty.

It noted that education will empower youths to learn and grow into future leaders in their communities,and throughout Africa.

Okoronkwo said: “Education is fundamental to unlocking the world; it is a passport to self-fulfilment and purpose. It is oneof the essential factors of development; as no country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment in human capital.”

Quoting the late former United NationsSecretary-General, Kofi Annan’s view on importance of education, Okoronkwo added: “Knowledge is power, information is liberating, and education is the premise of progress in every society, in every family.”

Following its appointment, Aiteo’s new management, swung into action to intensify development and engagement activities with its host communities, including the Nembe area of Bayelsa, where the company operates.

Speaking further, he said: “Nigeria, the most populous African country currently possesses the largest population of out-of-school learning youth in the world.The dire situation of education in Nigeria is even more glaring when the statistics between South Africa and Nigeria are compared.

“However, there is good reason to be worried about the state of education in Nigeria, and Africa in general. Due to a combination of factors including inadequate infrastructure, poverty and bad government policies, sub-Saharan African countries, except for South-Africa,are rated poorly in terms of education. The optimism generated by the recent increase in school enrolment across Africa has been dampened by a population explosion as well as reduction in quality of education.

Okoronkwo, who argued that government’s investment in education is not enough, urged privileged individuals and corporate entities to support the sector to augment national efforts.

Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, had commended the Education Development Trust Fund (BEDTF), as one of the most laudable initiatives of the government the set up of the Education Trust Fund. The BEDTF was set up in 2017, to sensitise and mobilise indigenes of Bayelsa, Nigerians,groups, philanthropists and relevant international organisations to contribute to the Fund.

Aiteo has also invested heavily in the development of Nigerian local football with the title sponsorship of the country’s oldest football tournament, now renamed Aiteo Cup. The tournament has gotten bigger and the prize money for the winning teams has increased exponentially.

At the continental stage, Aiteo is the title sponsor of the CAF awards, which recognises and rewards the greatest football exploits in and from Africa.

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