With the aid of the highly successful Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) model, oil communities in the Niger Delta have recorded over 600 self-executed economic projects with about N8 billion seed funds from the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
This is as Nembe City Development Foundation (NCDF) has emerged as the best cluster in an annual contest within the GMoU experiment spending over N259 million per year to change lives in the area.
Every year, the clusters come together at a festival of projects to showcase what they have done with their grants. This way, it is the communities that give account and strive to convince Shell about their development projects instead of the other way round.
The clusters which now have the responsibility to deploy their annual Shell grants to execute their own chosen projects with the supervision of some international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were screened and rated by credible organisations led by a former world court judge, Karibi-Whyte, as Shell launched the 2013 Community Transformation and Development Index (CCOTDI) and awards at its national headquarters in Port Harcourt.
Speaking, the managing director/country chairman of SPDC, Mutiu Sunmonu, said it was the social investment commitment of the company for the oil region and Nigeria as a whole that drove it to seek sustainable development initiative of its host communities, hence the introduction of the GMoU strategy.
He said the award means that the GMoU framework has been accepted and is working. He said the screening and awards were based on sound internationally recognised assessment parameters including transparency/accountability, inclusiveness/participation, governance/democracy, and business climate/progress towards sustainability.
He urged governments at all levels to devote more resources to develop the oil communities, saying what the GMoU grants can achieve were small.
“The size of these investments is very small when compared with the huge amount of resources available for development at the various levels of government, which are largely backed up by corresponding constitutional responsibilities and mandates”.