Rivers State government commends Eroton development model, farm project
Community denies alleged forced eviction by oil firm
The Rivers State government has commended the Eroton Community development model and its integrated farm project.This followed the commissioning of the projects in the Eroton E&P host communities at the weekend.Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community and Chieftaincy Affairs, Felix Odungweru, gave the commendation commission of the projects in Asari-Toru and Akuku-Toru local council of the state.
The state government specifically aplauded Eroton’s commitment and support for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) in its host communities, saying it has noted its efforts so far. Eroton E&P has been commissioning sustainable projects it built through development cluster boards and funded through its joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
So far, the company has commenced projects in Bille, Krakrama, Minama, Sangama and Ifoko communities.Odungweru, who spoke to journalists after commissioning and inspection of the agro-farm in Ido, said the project has capacity to transform the lives of the people of its host communities in the Degema 3 Cluster Development Board.
Speaking, Chairman of Degema 3 Cluster Development Board, Christian Sekibo, said the board decided to invest the funds made available to it by the JV partners in an income-yielding project, hence the agro-farm.
Meanwhile, the people of Robertkiri in Akuku-Toru Council Area, have refuted claims that they were forcibly evicted from their community to pave for construction of an oil terminal and other facilities in the area.It was learnt that the people of the area were recently paid ex-grata to vacate their settlements for the establishment of a project of Belema Pipeline Limited.
Head Chief of Robertkiri, Ibroma Brown, who stated this while conducing journalists round a new settlement site in the area, explained that they also received compassionate payments by the oil firm.He dismissed the allegation that his people were forced out of their land for Belema Pipeline, an arm of the Belemaoil Group, for establishment of a Dehydration Unit (DHU) Tank Farm to manage and produce water as part of the parent group’s evolving development of a Belema Industrial Island.
“Robertkiri and its surroundings was acquired by Gulf Oil since 1964. Through canalisation, as Gulf Oil opened up the space, people decided to occupy the idle portion over the years. After Gulf Oil, Chevron took over and then bequeathed the land to the Belema Group,” he explained.