By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt
The Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (TEPNG) has decried the declining crude oil prices at the international market following the coronavirus pandemic, saying it was struggling to survive.
But despite the impact of the pandemic to its operation, the company on Wednesday donated food items worth millions to its host communities of OML58 in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The food items, comprising 800 bags of rice, 6000 tubers of yam and 3,050 cartons of noodles, were handed over by TEPNG to the King of Egiland, H.R.M Prof. Anele Nwokoma, and President General of Egi People’s Assembly, Magnus Elemele.
Total’s Deputy General Manager, Public Affairs and Communication, Mr. Onyekachi Omenuko, assured the communities that the company would continue to support them at all times.
He said that the palliatives would have been more, but that the company was currently struggling to survive following declining global oil prices.
He appealed to the people to obey all precautionary measures against COVID19 to stop its spread.
He said: “I am happy to be here, for two major reasons. Total has always identified with the people of Egi. Total is part of Egi, we were here during the flood disaster as well as during the security crisis. Now we are here again for COVID19.
“Eze Egi as a father, made the request for these palliatives, and as a son, we could not have declined his request.
“Normally, it should have been more than these, like we did during the flood disaster, but then, things are not as it used to be, the world has changed, economies have fallen, companies have folded, but inspite of these situations, Total must support must support our people, no matter how difficult the situation , we must support our communities.
‘It is a commitment that TOTAL has made to support Egi people, whether in good time and bad times and that is why we are here. We will still support you and still stand by you no matter the situation.”
Total’s Manager, Community Affairs PHC & Offshore Communities, Okechukwu Obara, said the company made the donation in good faith and to show it understood the difficult period.
He said: “The company is currently struggling to survive, due to the low oil prices as a result of the corona virus pandemic. Oil has fallen so low that it’s on a negative trend.
“It is a gesture to say that we understand that things are difficult, but let us show good faith in this difficult times, so that when things are good we can always come back to say, even in the bad times, we were able to show our good faith. So it is on that note that we are handing over these palliatives to the people of Egi.”
Nwokoma commended the management of Total for the palliative, despite the difficult times and appealed to the people to share the food items without rancor.
He said: “Thank you Total. The world today is struggling because of COVID19, but we pray that Total should not struggle; because if Total struggles, Egi too will also struggle.
“So if oil is no longer profitable, start another profitable venture in Egi. If you reflect, you will notice that Total is now closer to Egi and responding to Egi needs, than it was 10-20years ago. Total’s corporate social responsibility is working in Egi.”