By Eseoghene Emuke

The Shell Petroleum Development Company says 15 per cent of monies accruing to cluster groups in oil bearing communities through the Global Memorandum of Understanding are meant for the empowerment and development women.

However, women from Itsekiri oil bearing communities have vowed to championed peace in their various communities in SPDC’s operational area to create the enabling environment for the betterment of their people.

SPDC’s General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli made the clarification during a one-day interactive forum under the Asset Production Unit Two (PU2) Women’s Forum with the theme “The Role of Women in Peace Building held in Effurun near Warri, Delta State.

Weli, represented by the Community Interface Coordinator, Engr. Jerry-Gaultney Udjo, said women were critical stakeholders in peace building and urged them to help sustained the prevailing peace in their various communities where SPDC is operating.

He explained that often times, the women groups are not even aware of their role in the GMoU reached with SPDC.

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“Shell, as you know, is an equal opportunity organization. We don’t discriminate. The GMoU is Global Memorandum of Understanding and the set of money we agreed with the clusters, 15 per cent of that money is designed to be use specifically for women programmes to ensure that the women have a voice as critical stakeholders.

“They (women) decide what they do with the 15 per cent of whatever amount that is accruing to their cluster”, he said.

Speaking on the aim of the programme, Weli added, “This programme is part of SPDC’s effort to reach out to stakeholders in our area of operations. Specifically, for this one is targeted at women on our production unit two area in West Asset. The production two (PU2) is the Otumara, Saghara and the Escravos axis.

“The objective of the programme is to have interactive session with women.  Women as you are very important segment of the society. The theme of this programme is the Role of Women in Peace Building. The truth is that women have an important role to play in peace process. At the home level, we know the role women play in keeping the house together; and that is what we want to tap in our area of operations.”

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Also speaking, a representative of the Delta State Government who doubled as the General Manager of the Delta State Broadcasting Service (DBS), Asaba, Mrs Evelyn Binite, stressed that women in oil producing communities must rise up to ensure that there is peace in their communities.

Binite stated that “every crisis begins from the home”, pointed that out that there can never be economic development in the absence of peace.

“The Delta State Government is happy and, appreciates SPDC for recognizing women in its area of operation as critical stakeholders in peace building. Women must key into such peace process which begins with this kind of interactive session for women to know their role in peace building.

“Women must work with their husbands and children to ensure that there is peace for oil multinationals in our communities operate in peaceful environment. It’s through peaceful means that the development the people of the Niger Delta have been crying of can be achieved”, she added.

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Meanwhile, Chief Winifred Agbejule, who represented the wife (Queen) of Olu of Warri, assured that Itsekiri women would continue to support any peace process that would bring development to their various communities.

Chief Agbejule, however, appealed to SPDC to give special employment opportunities to Itsekiri oil bearing communities as well as remain transparent in its operation with host communities to avoid rancor.


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