The Orodje of Okpe Kingdom, Delta State, HRM Felix Mujakpero, Orhue I has commended Seplat Petroleum Development Company (Seplat) over its multi-million naira annual Corporate Social Responsibility programme, “Eye Can See” which have brought succour to hundreds of people within his domain.
The monarch who witnessed the wrapped up ceremony of the 6th edition of the programme held at his palace in Orerokpe, Okpe Council Area over the weekend expressed delight that Seplat had over the years supported its host communities to enhance their physical and mental well-being.
While assuring the oil company of his Kingdom’s support in its operations, the paramount ruler, a retired Major General in the Nigerian Army urged the oil firm not to relent in carrying out more laudable initiatives to the host communities saying that if other oil companies were sincere in their CSR’s programmes for host communities, unrest in the Niger Delta region would have abated long ago.
Managing Director of Seplat, Mr. Austin Avuru who briefed newsmen shortly after the closing ceremony said that Seplat designed the programme to bring quality optical care to people in need of it within its communities of operation.
He said that this year’s event which ran for over 3 weeks around 9 centres within Seplat area of operation in Delta State, saw the screening of 5,652 patients with 287 undergoing successful surgeries.
According to him, over the course of 6 years, the programme had screened 48,802 patients and dispensed 19,325 glasses to persons in need of visual aid adding that over 2,221 surgeries have been carried out successfully.
Besides, he stated that Seplat also embarked on a CSR programme, christened “Safe Motherhood” which catered for rural women in the host communities of Edo and Delta State adding that the health and educational programmes were designed voluntarily to compliment its normal corporate social investment programmes enshrined in its Global Memoranda of Understanding (GMoU) signed with the host communities in December 2011.
“We invest hugely in our area of operation in conjunction with our host communities. We designed the health and education programmes to compliment our normal community development programmes”
“We believe that members of our host communities are important stakeholders in our mutual enterprise and we feel duty bound to support and enhance their health and economic circumstances”.
Speaking on how the exercise was carried out, he said; “We take time out through this outreach programme to run all the vital test on those who volunteer to come out. Through the eye screening, we then select those who have vision impairment due to either glaucoma or cataract.
“Anyone who has glaucoma is further referred to relevant hospital and anyone that has cataract we take a step further to restore them”.
“We are running this programme as an oil and gas company for those who ordinarily cannot afford to go to the hospital for checkup let alone treatment of their eyes. We have had so many dramatic results.
“I have personally witnessed case of people who thought they have no sight but when they woke up in the morning they discovered their sight is restored and you see life injected into such persons”.
“We would continue to do the same thing every year until we have no case of cataract to worry about”.
Fielding questions from journalists whether Seplat also embarked on other CSR programmes, the Managing Director said: “like I said earlier we are embarking on this programme voluntarily because our usual programme for host communities are draw up by the people themselves”.
“We agreed on projects to be executed for them including roads. Primarily, road projects are the responsibility of government but there are road projects that we have also undertaken”.
Continuing, he said; “We commissioned road and water project recently in Sapele so ordinarily we invest heavily on roads. This ones we do in conjunction with the communities themselves”.
“We cannot just build roads and hospitals for people who are not healthy so we take care of areas of basic health care for pregnant women also and we voluntarily designed this programmes to compliment our normal communities development programmes”.
“We also have an educational awareness programme for students which is the quiz competition”, he added.
The programme which is a key component of Seplat’s CSIs is a health focused community engagement tailored to bring free, qualitative and comprehensive eye care to members of its host communities.
Written by Joe Ogbodu