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Soludo to make Anambra oil host communities model – Commissioner



By Praise Chinecherem

Anambra State Commissioner for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Barr. Anthony Ifeanya has disclosed plans by Governor Chukwuma Soludo to make oil producing communities in the state models, through building of schools, roads, hospitals and other life improvement infrastructure.

Ifeanya disclosed this on Wednesday at a one day dialogue on Building Trust and Transparency: Strengthening Relationships Among Extractive Stakeholders, Government and Communities.”

The dialogue is organized by International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre (IPCRC) and Spaces for Change (S4C) in partnership with Anambra State government.

The commissioner however noted that such laudable plans could only be achieved in an environment of peace and trust, just as he stressed the need for confidence building between Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company SEEPCO, the state and host communities.

While identifying hydrocarbon exploitation, bunkering, government insensitivity and other challenges facing host communities, Ifeanya recommended empowerment, sustainability, partnership and ownership as prerequisite for commercially viable and mutually beneficial operations.

Earlier, Executive Director, S4C, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri said her organization was deeply committed to fostering dialogue, collaboration and mutual respect among parties involved in the extractive industries.

She described the dialogue as crucial step towards bridging gaps and building stronger, more resilient relationships among stakeholders, government representatives, and host communities.

“S4C is a nonprofit organization dedicated to prioritizing human rights in decision-making processes.

“Our partnership with the International Peace and Civic Responsibility Center (IPCRC) for this event underscores our collective dedication to advancing transparency, equitable benefit sharing, and gender rights within the natural resource sector in Anambra State.

“By convening to discuss shared challenges and opportunities, we pave the way for more inclusive and sustainable development in Anambra State,” she said.

While commending participants for their dedication to the cause, Ibezim-Ohaeri expressed optimism that the dialogue would create a more just and equitable society where benefits of natural resources were shared fairly and stakeholders’ voices heard and respected.

President, IPCRC, Prince Chris Azor regretted that host communities of Ogwu-Aniocha, Ogwu-Ikpele and other mineral producing communities have continually presented existential challenges following oil and minerals exploration activities in the areas since Anambra was adopted as oil producing State.

“Some of the challenges include insecurity, neglect, environmental degradation, pollution, disease, marginalization, human rights violations and socio-economic hardships

“IPCRC and S4C in partnership with Anambra State Government seek to engage the observed issues and concerns with a view to get inputs from Stakeholders, and find ways of addressing same for peace, security, welfare, good governance and sustainable development,” he said.

Head of Unit, Peace and Conflict Resolution Management, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), DCC Esokawu Charity pledged the Corps’ support to the protection of the facilities in the host communities.

“We have enough well trained personnel and battle ready to ensure all oil pipelines and other government infrastructure are protected,” she added.

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