ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and its joint venture partners have presented N102 million for educational scholarship and youths empowerment programme to 116 indigenes of Bayelsa State.
The gesture covers the various communities under the Gbarain Kingdom and Gbarantoru Community in Ekpetiama Kingdom of Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.
The oil firm presented N36 million to 36 beneficiaries under the education scholarship for their pursuit of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Science and Master of Arts in different fields.
Eighty youths were presented with N45 million to pursue vocations in different skills such as pipeline, fabrication, welding, computer networking, fashion design, plumbing and pipe fitting, electrical installation.
The skills acquisition training is being done in partnership with the Bayelsa State-owned Niger Delta University, Amasoma.
Also, a bus was donated to empower the people and stimulate economic growth in Gbarain Kingdom and Gbarantoru Community in Ekpetiama clan.
The Corporate Relations Manager, East, SPDC, Mr. E. T. S Krukrubo, during the presentation at the Obunagha auditorium, stated that the education and youth empowerment schemes were carried out under the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) signed between host communities and the SPDC in 2007.
He said the aim of the GMoU was to pioneer the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility for the smooth running of its operations in the area.
Krukrubo said the Gbarain Ekpetiama Cluster Development Board (CDB) is a gathering that has brought peace and stability in the Gbarain and Ekpetiama twin kingdoms with its interventions in conflict resolution, infrastructure, electricity, sports development, human capital development, education among others.
Krukrubo also pointed out that the cluster model had helped to curb crimes in the state and facilitated development in the rural areas.
He commended the host communities for creating an enabling environment for the smooth operation of the company in its environs.
The Commissioner for Mineral Resources, Dr. Ebiere Jones, described the scholarship scheme as an agent of positive catalyst designed to empower the people of the area and place them on the world academic map.
Also Speaking, the Bayelsa State Focal Person of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Dr. Ebiwari Wariowei, who was also the chairman on the occasion, charged his kinsmen to utilise the opportunity and finish strong in the interest of the clans.
He urged them to contribute to the growth of the kingdoms as agents of change and hope for the younger generation.
The Technical Adviser to the Governor and Focal Person on Presidential Amnesty matters, Hon. Alaowei Opukeme, tasked the beneficiaries to be worthy ambassadors of the scheme.
The monarch of Gbarain Kingdom, King Funpere Gabriel Akah, who initiated the scholarship scheme, said his vision was l to raise 100 PhD holders in his lifetime and called on the people to continually embrace peace.